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Miles of Love: LGBT+ Travel Advocacy Forum

In a world first, LGBT+ activists including the infamous Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, will come together with people in the travel industry to discover how we can all be ‘travel agents of change’.

From November 2 – 5, LGBT+ activists and travel industry representatives will convene for a unique and groundbreaking event.

‘Miles of Love’ will explore how the travel industry can work with LGBT+ communities around the world to become real and impactful.

“Tourism cannot achieve its full potential until all destinations are committed to treating their LGBTQ visitors and citizens with respect,” states John Tanzella, President and CEO of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA).

30 diverse, challenging, entertaining and informative speakers from 15 countries will address  the conference.

Happening during Hong Kong’s world famous Pink Season, ‘Miles of Love’ will break new ground in exploring the interplay between LGBT+ issues and global tourism.

Bess Hepworth, founder of Planet Ally and lead organiser of the conference  adds “The conversations that will happen in Hong Kong at Miles of Love are long overdue. I believe that this dialogue will be a key driver in opening new collaborations that will drive both business success and the achievement of safety and dignity for LGBT+ people”.

Fearless queer and women’s rights activists, Pussy Riot, will be offering a first-hand account about the shrinking of civil society space in Russia.

Cambodia’s first gay dance company, Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, will also perform.

LGBT+ activists from Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia will explain how tourism  can both help and hinder the long march to equality and dignity.

Industry representatives will outline their work to bring genuine LGBT+ positive inclusiveness to their business approaches.

These are just a few of the many highlights in this fast-paced, interactive forum that includes plenary sessions, training and a diplomatic roundtable.

Miles of Love
November 2-5
Eaton Hotel, 380 Nathan Rd, Kowloon
Tickets for the event are available via eventbrite here.

 

Featured Conference Speakers include

American Samoa
Jaiyah Saelua, American Samoa international footballer, international sports inclusion advocate, “Next Goal Wins” film representative, Member, FIFA “11 For Diversity,” Member, Society Of Fa’afafine In American Samoa (SOFIAS):
“My Samoan ancestors navigated the ocean and returned restored and renewed, but always remembered the basis of our culture — to love and respect one another. This is my hope: for people to travel with an open mind and a willingness to experience, absorb and grow as human beings.  These learned experiences will help us appreciate & respect the beauty of diversity in the world, so that when we return to our homes, we can help our communities become more inclusive.

 

Australia
Jaz Dawson, Director, Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation:
“As we travel more and more for pleasure or work it is essential that we look at the way our travel choices might be able to have a positive impact on LGBTIQ communities around the world. Solidarity shouldn’t end at the check-in counter.”

Chris Pycroft, Accessibility Engagement Manager, Intopia Digital, Stakeholder Director,
Australian Marriage Equality, The Equality Campaign, Planet Ally, Partnerships and Policy Advisor
“Knowing the laws of each country and how respectful people on the ground are likely going to be makes all the difference between feeling safe and not. It’s also incredibly important this information is accessible and available to everyone whenever they need it, whoever they are and wherever they may be.”

 

Cambodia
Prumsodun Ok, Founding Artistic Director, Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, TED Senior Fellow
“When we perform internationally, we show people this is the beauty of Cambodia and resilience of our people. This is the new Cambodia, the future of Cambodia, and the future of Cambodia is inclusive, compassionate and brave.”

 

Canada
Kimahli Powell, Executive Director, Rainbow Railroad
“The travel industry has a key role to play in supporting LGBTI activism. It’s important the industry is aware of countries that are on the path to equality for LGBTI people, or are moving towards acceptance. It’s also important for the industry to know countries that have more work to do, or through state sponsored homophobia are putting lives at risk. The industry has a powerful opportunity to make a difference.”

 

Hong Kong
Brenda Alegre, Assistant Lecturer Faculty of Arts, HKU and ILGA World Trans Secretariat
“If Corporations are going to be true allies to their LGBTI employees, then they need to implement their policies equally and fairly wherever they are.”

Vincy Chan, Non-binary Trans Artist/ Musician/ Advocate
“Safety isn’t a given for women and LGB folks who travel, and especially not so for trans and gender diverse people. Making spaces, at home and abroad, safer and more accessible is a necessity.”

Abby Lee, President, Qlove, Director of Business Success, Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 and Co-Director Pink Dot HK
“As an organiser of large LGBTI+ oriented events attracting people from around the world and someone with over 28 years travel industry experience, I am particularly sensitive that the LGBTI+ market is still under represented and not formally recognised. Our needs for proper recognition regarding safety, comfort and affordability should be at the forefront of any LGBTI+ travel discussions and for travelers and well as the travel industry employees.

Small Luk, Founder, Beyond the Boundary-Knowing and Concerns Intersex
“Intersex people may have different bodies, but we need safe and enjoyable travel experiences just like everyone else.”

Fern Ngai, CEO, Community Business
“When you consider a work environment, it’s not just a physical workplace within one city. For multinational companies, the work environment extends to where their employees  go on business trips.”

 

Japan
Shiho Ikeuchi, Board Member, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
“People are just not aware and they don’t think if they have to send someone on a business trip, that it might pose unique or unforeseen risks for their LGBTI employees.”

 

Malaysia
Nisha Ayub, Founder, Seed Foundation Malaysia
“Freedom of movement’ does not only apply to one particular gender, it also applies to  transgender people. Therefore we should be given equal rights and protection when we travel to another place or country.”

 

Philippines
Ging Cristobal, Project Coordinator for Asia, OutRight International, Board Member, IFED
“As an LGBTIQ person security means 24/7 because we are targeted because of our SOGIESC. The risk gets higher when you go online and leave your country. This forum is the venue where we can discuss & strategize together!”

 

Russia
Pussy Riot, Feminist Punk Band and Activist Group
“It’s a big honour for us to participate in Miles of Love – to meet human rights activists from different countries, to change experiences, to think together how we can make a world better place to live.”

“Sometimes we are arrested or get fined after some of our actions, some of Pussy Riot members have had problems trying to cross Russian border. It’s very important for us to be able to travel freely, but not always we can be sure that we are going to cross the borders without any difficulties.”

“We believe that international collaborations are very important components of advocacy and activism, so it’s necessary to be able to travel freely to built bridges and networks.”

“Fighting against sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and standing up for LGBTI rights is always in Pussy Riot agenda.”

Mikhail Tumasov, Coordinator, Russian LGBT Network
“Everybody should have the right to freedom of assembly and movement and the right to be who themselves. Each of us must protect these rights across our small but beautiful planet.”

 

Singapore
Theresa Goh, Singapore Paralympian, Ambassador, Pink Dot Singapore
“I believe in making the world accessible for everyone, whether it’s traveling or sports or even just accessing spaces, no one should be left out.”

 

USA
Michael Luongo, Freelance Journalist, Author, Photographer and Professor, Author, Gay Travels in the Muslim World
“There is no substitute for being there. The most important thing in this world is to simply see as much of it as possible. Only then will you know and be able to judge each country for its joys, nuances, contradictions and challenges.”




Event Organisers

Planet Ally
Founded in 2016, our mission is to build a planet of allies. As a leading nonprofit dedicated to empowering allyship, we give people the resources and tools to advance human rights and help build stronger, more resilient communities. Our flagship events are the Asia-Pacific Rainbow Families Forum, Miles of Love, LGBT+ Travel Advocacy Forum and the Human Dignity Festival. Across APAC and MENA, we empower communities online, on the ground and when travelling. “We want to live on a planet of allies!”

 

All Out
All Out is a global movement fighting for a world where NO ONE has to sacrifice their family, freedom, safety, or dignity because of who they are or who they love. We mobilise thousands of people around the world to stand up for LGBT rights. When a moment of crisis or opportunity comes up – like an anti-gay law going to a vote or a crackdown on a Pride march – All Out works closely with partners to come up with inspiring ways for our members to take action. From signing a petition to joining a protest, from sharing on social media to making a donation, All Out members turn solidarity into action every single day.

Eaton Hotel
A hotel like no other with its focus on social change and community engagement.



 

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