By Alex Orué, Global Programming Assistant Manager, It Gets Better Project.
In 2022, It Gets Better was honored to co-host ILGA World’s 2022 Global Conference , bringing more than 700 LGBTQ+ activists (representing all seven continents – we see you, Antarctica) to Long Beach, CA for a week-long gathering complete with social activities and community-building sessions to advance our Human Rights agenda worldwide. ILGA World is a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 1.5k LGBTQ+ organizations from around the globe, all working to advocate for LGBTQ+ human rights at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. Every two years they host their World Conference, and this year — because of our extensive Global Affiliate Network in Latin America — we participated in the ILGA LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) 2023 Regional Conference in La Paz, Bolivia.
From April 24th to the 28th, hundreds of Latin American queer activists gathered in the economic capital of this landlocked plurinational country in South America. Since our membership is for North America, we participated as an observer, but we got to participate in different activities like the Youth Caucus, where queer youth from the region had the chance to connect and share their experiences of creating safe spaces in their communities for artistic expression, working on educational resources and supporting each other’s mental health, all the while going through the COVID19 pandemic.
Another highlight was taking part in the rich discussions on how to amplify and support the non-binary community while making powerful connections with many local and regional organizations that work for queer youth and gender non-conforming communities. One of them is DARIA Comunidad, a recipient of one of our global grants in 2022 and a grassroots community organization of trans and gender non-confirming youth that offers safe spaces for artistic expression and educational opportunities that recover ancestral queer aspects of their indigenous cultures.
As the membership of ILGA LAC voted to host the next 2025 Regional Conference in San Salvador, El Salvador, we are reminded that in spite of the challenges we see globally with the rise of anti-trans hate, attacks on LGBTQ+ youth and the criminalization of our community in African countries, our movement is more alive than ever, especially because of the transformational advocacy and community building efforts that our queer youth is leading in the frontlines in Latin America and worldwide.
It does keep getting better because of their leadership and the continuous legacy of those who came before us who are still paving the way.
See you in 2025 in San Salvador!