GLAAD and Ariadne Getty Foundation Host LGBTQ Panel During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos and Call for Action: “Let’s build a world with 100% LGBTQ acceptance.”

GLAAD and the Ariadne Getty Foundation are in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to amplify LGBTQ equality on the world stage.

The Annual Meeting welcomes the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The mission of the World Economic Forum is simple: “improve the state of the world.”

Earlier today, GLAAD and AGF hosted a panel discussion and fireside chat about LGBTQ acceptance, the historic ruling to decriminalize being LGBTQ in India last year, and the urgent violence facing LGBTQ people in Chechnya, Tanzania, Brazil, the United States, and other places around the world.

During the event, Dr. Cori Lathan introduced GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Dr. Lathan, whose daughter is transgender, spoke about the power of the World Economic Forum and gave a special shout-out to her daughter’s favorite icon, Gigi Gorgeous, who was in attendance.

Sarah Kate Ellis spoke about the current state of LGBTQ acceptance, calling the room to speak out against violence facing LGBTQ people in Chechnya, Brazil, and Tanzania. She also called out this week’s Supreme Court’s decision against transgender service members.

She had one message to send to corporate leaders in the room, noting: “Companies and corporate cultures cannot alone transform societies in which they operate. But they can lead the way for others.  It is vital for the corporate community to take positive, affirmative steps to respect and promote human rights through both words and deeds.”

The panel - ‘Making Equality Equal: The Next Move Forward for LGBTI Rights’ - discussion followed moderated by CNN International’s Richard Quest, a LGBTQ champion and leader in business journalism.

The panel featured:
Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow;
Vas Narasimhan, CEO, Novartis;
Shamina Singh, President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
Krishna Omkar, Senior Associate, King & Spalding.

During the panel, the CEOs of Dow and Novartis spoke about why LGBTQ inclusion was important to their companies and other global businesses.

Vas Narasimhan of Novartis spoke someone very close who transitioned, noting: “When you get to true acceptance and you love unconditionally, it opens your eyes.” Later, he spoke about the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in business: “You are more innovative and more effective when you have diverse teams that accept each other.”

Jim Fitterling, the CEO of Dow, said: “When I started it was all about business. Today the demands on a CEO are totally different. You have to compete for talent. When we go out to hire, LGBTQ people and their allies say how you treat people in the workplace is a priority.” Later, Fitterling continued: “It’s an inclusion agenda, and I just happen to be LGBTQ. It isn’t about me – it’s about how we treat each other.”

Omkar shared insights into his work alongside fellow advocates which resulted in the historic 2018 ruling to decriminalize being LGBTI in India and Singh shared details about the ‘Partnership for Global LGBTQI Equality.’ The partnership launched earlier this week by the World Economic Forum and seven strategic partner companies” Accenture, Deutsche Bank, EY, Mastercard, Microsoft, Omnicom Group and Salesforce. The partnership focuses on leveraging their individual and collective advocacy to accelerate global LGBTI equality and inclusion and drive positive change.

The panel continued with a Q&A moderated by God-is Rivera, the Global Head of Culture & Community at Twitter and featuring GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis and Ariadne Getty, the President and Executive Director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation.

Ariadne’s daughter Nats and her fiancée Gigi Gorgeous introduced the Q&A.

Ariadne Getty spoke about her commitment to LGBTQ organizations including GLAAD and the LA LGBTQ Center. She also updated the audience on the $15 million pledge that AGF made to launch the GLAAD Media Institute, a training program for LGBTI advocates and allies. The pledge, the largest in GLAAD’s history, was announced in Davos last year.

Rivera asked Getty about her two LGBTQ children and what she would tell parents who might not accept their own LGBTQ children:

“Realize you have one chance, one go, one opportunity. You’ve been gifted a life and should embrace it.”

She continued: “If parents stop for a second and think – this child is a gift, why would I ever make this child feel less than or change who they are? Embrace the courage that it took for them to reveal their authentic selves. Use some of that courage yourself.”

When asked about their goal for their LGBTQ advocacy work, both agreed: “Let’s build a world with 100% LGBTQ acceptance.”