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BT and ILGA map the world for gay, lesbian and transgender people

in WORLD, 17/12/2009

BT and ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association) have together created an innovative global interactive map showing LGBT specific information for every country around the world. It highlights some stark truths, such as the countries that still apply the death penalty to homosexuals, but it also shows vividly the positive progress being made across the planet to ensure LGBT people everywhere are treated with respect and appreciation for the contribution that they make to the world. You can visit the site at: http://new.ilga.org/

Benefits

This new web portal is set to revolutionise how information on LGBT issues can be gathered from individual travellers and grassroots activists, and presented in a way that makes it accessible and actionable by the worldwide LGBT community. The website will help individuals and organisations, business travellers, gap year students and the wider community to obtain and share important LGBT issues, new policies, laws and resources before they even enter their country of destination.

Why is BT involved?

Over eighty countries have legal sanctions against gay people, including many states accepted within the United Nations. LGBT people face hostility and persecution in many societies. There is an opportunity for employers to lead the way and provide support for LGBT people that enables them to remain safe. Cross-border travel and work assignments mean that multi-national and global organisations can't just concentrate on support in countries with benign legal frameworks, they have a duty of care for all their people and particularly potentially vulnerable people, such as LGBT people.

Even in countries with supportive legal frameworks for LGBT people, they can face anything from grudging acceptance to active hostility. This does not make for productive and motivated workers. Certain belief systems clash with support and respect for LGBT people and equality. This can be reinforced by lack of support in the media, reinforcing stereotypes.

Beyond the moral imperative to treat our people with respect, it makes economic and commercial sense for all organisations, whether they are private companies or state-owned organisations, charitable or voluntary bodies to support inclusive workplaces. It helps to attract talented people whoever they are and however they define themselves. It assists with retaining and developing talented people, so that they can deliver their best for the organisation and develop their careers.

BT is proud to have recently been voted the world’s number one gay friendly corporation in the world in the first international benchmark to measure the impact of people policies and practices on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across the globe. The International Business Equality Index was undertaken by the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (IGLCC) – www.iglcc.org. We believe that our continued unequivocal support for our LGBT community is a signal that tells everyone that BT is prepared to go the extra mile to support its staff, whether gay or straight.

What is in it for me as an LGBTI traveller?

The new website combines official information on the legal status of LGBT people in each country with grass-roots information gathered by the activist community and other individuals. This allows travellers to make informed decisions about their personal safety and behaviour or indeed their willingness to visit a particular country. Furthermore, travellers can share their own experiences to further enrich the available information.

What is the technology used for this site?

The ILGA site has been built by BT's Open Source arm Osmosoft. The site is based on TiddlyWiki and TiddlyWeb, two Open Source platforms that provide a framework that makes it much easier to build and reuse website functionality. They do this by providing a stable platform along with a wealth of plug-ins that can be combined in different ways to create website with the almost any desired features.

How can organisations use this information?

Organisations across the world who care for the safety and interests of their LGBT workforce can communicate this website to their workers, so that all their people are aware of the legal status of LGBT people in countries where they operate and to understand what LGBT people’s experiences are in each country. This is particularly important to ensure that LGBT people who are travelling internationally, have the best possible information available before they make their travel decisions and to inform them whilst there. This would complement the extensive range of public health information that many organisations provide for their colleagues.

How can I contribute my knowledge as a person or a company?

The "Your Stories" section of the site allows anyone to share information about their experiences in a particular country

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.

About ILGA

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere.

Founded in 1978, it now has more than 670 member organisations. Every continent and over 110 countries are represented. ILGA member groups range from small collectives to national groups and entire cities.

ILGA is to this day the only international non-profit and non-governmental community-based federation focused on presenting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation as a global issue.

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