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Kolkata's US Consulate hosts conclave to promote inclusion, equity, accessibility for LGBTQI+ community Kolkata
Photo Courtesy: US Consulate Kolkata PR Team

Kolkata's US Consulate hosts conclave to promote inclusion, equity, accessibility for LGBTQI+ community

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 25 Apr 2024, 12:13 am

The US Consulate in Kolkata collaborated with U.S.-based non-profit StoryCenter to host the "Voices of Diversity – Action for Inclusion" final advocacy conclave on Wednesday to mark a significant milestone in increasing inclusion, equity, and accessibility for the LGBTQI+ community across seven states in East and Northeast India.

Elizabeth Lee, Director of the American Center, Kolkata said the conclave underscores the importance of championing equal rights for all individuals in the society.

"As we reflect on the importance of human rights, we recognize that the struggle of LGBTQI+ people to obtain rights and recognition is inseparable from the broader fight for universal human rights. We stand proudly for the rights of all people, everywhere. By amplifying diverse voices and fostering allyship, equal access and rights, we can create a more just and inclusive society for future generations," she said.

The conclave convened stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to discuss and develop short documentaries on the rights, lives, and challenges faced by the LGBTQI+ community.

During the conclave, participants engaged in targeted sessions on inclusion in learning and workspaces. 

Over the course of 20 months, representatives from West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Odisha, and Jharkhand engaged in constructive dialogue and brainstorming sessions, facilitated by local non-profit organizations Prodigal's Home and BRIDGE, under the direction of StoryCenter.

The conclave was designed to reflect India’s diversity and promote actionable strategies for fostering inclusion of LGBTQI+ community in the formal economy and beyond. 

The project team also conducted 57 one-to-one advocacy conversations with policymakers, government officials, educators, employers, healthcare professionals, lawyers, civil society representatives, filmmakers, media, and journalists. These efforts aimed to foster awareness and facilitate access, inclusion, and equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals.

"In this current era of considerable backlash against efforts to secure the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities in countries around the world, we are very proud to be part of this work to bring visibility and awareness to the issue in East and Northeast India,” said Amy L. Hill, Silence Speaks Director at StoryCenter, U.S.A., and lead for the Rainbow Dialogues project, I have been moved by the openness and generosity of our storytelling participants as they have bravely shared their experiences and created a network of solidarity in the region. We hope the positive steps towards greater acceptance and opportunity made through the Rainbow Dialogues project can continue to benefit members of the queer community in India."

(Reporting by Supriyo Hazra) 

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