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Before: Online Satellite Events

Before the main day we hosted a number of online Zoom satellite events to get excited about #SaferToBeMe. These events can now be viewed via our YouTube channel. Click on the talk titles to watch them.

Zoom Online 
Obioma Chukwuike

Covid-19: The Situation of Intersex People in Africa

The unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 pandemic is creating havoc in human lives. It has created unimaginable changes of tremendous scale on personal and public levels. The Global Intersex Committee saw the need to establish the situation of intersex people in different regions and conducted primary research to assess the pandemics impact – specifically on the lives of intersex people in Africa. 


This talk will outline some of the findings of the research and discuss the emerging picture of mental health issues for intersex people in Africa. (The quantitative findings are not applicable to the general intersex life, as the sample size is too small, and the necessary statistical randomness is not met. They do, however, provide valuable insight and indicate areas of concern.) The quantitative and qualitative data together strongly point towards intersex people being a highly vulnerable part of the population in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.


One of the most critical findings in this respect is the highly increased risk of intersex people not being able to access financial support with a history of discrimination at workplaces and an inability to gain employment. The high percentage of increased mental health issues amongst the respondents represents another worrying finding. Many intersex people suffer from mental health issues due to the violations of their physical and psychological integrity, living in secrecy, isolation, the stigma they experienced, which makes intersex vulnerable

Obioma (They/Them) is an intersex and human rights activist living in Nigeria, they are passionate about the visibility and promotion of intersex rights. They have 6 years experience in advocating for different issues and challenges affecting intersex children/adult, they also belong to various national, regional and international committees dedicated towards achieving intersex human rights promotion. Obioma is also a researcher and an environmental consultant who specialises in environmental conservation and sustainability. 

Zoom Online 

LGBTQI+ Life in Pakistan

Pakistan may be one of the most homophobic countries. This is not helped by the extremist, uneducated, anti-inclusive, patriarchal mullahs (religious leaders), who have a strong hold on politics, attitudes, and people’s mentalities, and supported by a homophobic and transphobic Senate. But believe me it’s not all too dark, we are a country with a lot of beauty and potential.


So my talk in this symposium will be constituted of 4 subsections:

  1. Firstly, I will cover what the constitution of Pakistan says about LGBTQ+ people.

  2. After that, I will be covering the societal situation of gender and sexual minorities in Pakistan, including public attitudes toward that of LGBTQI+ people. We will also be analysing the class system of Pakistan, through a queer lens.

  3. I will discuss one of the most progressive acts in Pakistan, the Transgender Protection Act (2018) which is about to be amended to erase any goodwill that was previously generated. We will see the homophobic and transphobic role the Senate of Pakistan is playing in this regard.

  4. Then at last I will discuss the problems which LGBTQ activist are facing. We will ask where our queer community is heading? And what does the future hold?

Raza is a young human rights activist. He has been working for the human rights of all in Pakistan, specially the rights of religious minorities, LGBTQ individuals and women. Currently, Raza is working on creating an inclusive and progressive LGBTQ organisation in Pakistan, to tackle the legal fights for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and to channel the efforts of all Pakistani queer activists effectively. 

Zoom Online 
Sarah Connelly 
United Kingdom

‘Public Benefit’ or the ‘Corrosion of Public Discourse’? – An Intersectional Analysis of the Human Rights of Trans and Non-Binary People in the U.K.


This talk examines the current human rights situation in the United Kingdom regarding autonomy and agency for trans and non-binary communities. 2022 has included various narratives across media and news outlets focusing on the intersection between gender and age. Specifically, the age of 11–25-year-olds and their decisions around their identity regarding medical and political decisions, and when such decisions can be ‘authentically’ made. From public appeals due to misreadings of the Equality Act of 2010 to claims around “harmful” support for young people, the existence of transgender and non-binary support has become a public interest once again as support agencies are questioning their legitimacy.


This talk is based on a qualitative and secondary data analysis of documents including news articles, charity statements, and social media coverage to explore narratives around age, gender and structural barriers. The research discussion is centered on the impacts of such media and news coverage to analyse perceptions of the public, and the impact of young gender-fluid people and aims to explore how the intersections impact support provisions and the LGBTQ+ communities in the UK.

Sarah (She/Her) currently lectures in the Social Science department at the University of Sunderland (UK) and manages a team of appropriate adults within the criminal justice sector. Her research interests include researching into how marginalised groups interpret and navigate identity and the interplay between diagnosis and identity.

Zoom Online 
Joel Simpson

Slow but Steady: Advancing LGBTIQ+ Rights in Guyana and the Caribbean

Formal LGBTIQ+ organising in Guyana and the Caribbean started in the late 20th century. This talk examines the first groups started in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the late 1990s. The Caribbean Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (C-FLAG) - the region's LGBTIQ+ network rebranded as the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) - was also birthed during this period. Although a relatively young movement, Caribbean LGBTIQ+ organisers have achieved great successes in recent years dismantling anti-LGBTIQ+ laws and creating legal protections from discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people.


This talk will discuss advances made in Guyana to decriminalise the region's last law against cross-dressing, which targeted transgender women, and the series of cases decriminalising same-sex intimacy in Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis. Successful efforts utilizing Caribbean parliaments to make progressive legal changes in the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Barbados and Guyana will also be discussed. The Caribbean region is on a positive trajectory. While it may seem slow, the advances are steady and unyielding. This talk makes a strong case for investing in domestic LGBTIQ+ movements.

Joel Simpson (They/Them) is gay and non-binary. They are the Founder and Managing Director of SASOD Guyana. They hold a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Guyana. They are a Chevening scholar with a Master of Laws Degree in Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. They have over 17 years’ experience working in gender, human rights and HIV, including roles such as the UNESCO Human Rights Researcher at the HIV Education Unit at the University of the West Indies' St. Augustine campus in Trinidad and Human Rights Associate at the United Nations Development Programme country office in Guyana. They are a cofounder of the Trinidad and Tobago Anti Violence Project and a steering committee member of the Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) - the pan-Caribbean LGBTIQ+ network.

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