The idea to write about the LGBT+ community (an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bsexual and transgender) first came to my mind thansk to my colleague Kerstin Wünsch at TW Magazine. Kerstin decided to give women in the meetings industry a clear platform. She obviously succeeded in her endeavour because there were several women with a powerful voice on stage at IMEX Frankfurt this year.
Subsequently, I started wondering if our industry was in fact open to all. We are human beings, who are all different but equal in rights. Nobody should be dominant and, yet, many women still feel deprived. This should not be the case in an industry that focuses on human values.
The LGBT+ community also deserves more space and more allies than it currently has. Our society should be ready to change for the better. One reason is that sexual orientation vary in nature among all beings and, on a purely scientific level, this is perfectly normal. The other, most important, reason is that we should all be able to choose who we like and love.
The question remains how we deal with diversity? Are we inclusive as we should be?
For many decades, being left-handed was seen as evil. In many countries, LGBT+ people are regarded as criminals and it might take time before this tendency will change. Cultural prejudices play a major role in this. I can’t imagine the LGBT+ community being completely ignored in the meetings industry, however LGBT+ conferences are not welcome in every country.
So I'm very pleased that MPI will have an open discussion with representatives of the LGBT+ community who are professional organisers, during IMEX America. My human binoculars are already zeroing in on the future. To be continued.
Text by Marcel A.M. Vissers
Editor in Chief of HQ Magazine
Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.