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Selisse Berry’s Speech to the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association Global Conference

Below are highlights from Selisse Berry’s keynote remarks to the general assembly of the IGLTA Global Conference in Madrid, Spain, delivered May 8, 2014:

Buenos Dias!

I’m thrilled to be here in Madrid. I love being here in Spain. I love the food, the drinks, the art! I love the culture and the language.

Thank you to John Tanzella and LoAnn Halden for inviting me to be part of the IGLTA Global Conference. And I want to thank each of you for being here this evening for this wonderful conversation. It’s so important for us to come together to celebrate how far we’ve come… and to inspire one another for the journey ahead.

We have much to celebrate that would be unimaginable even 30 years ago. Marriage equality is the law of the land in 17 states across the United States and in 17 countries around the world! Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings that move the United States closer to full marriage equality. And the world knows the European Union has been a leader of LGBT protections with its Employment Equality Directive.

ImageOur work at Out & Equal is really about making the world and the workplace a better place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It’s about creating workplaces where everyone can truly be Out and Equal and where we can bring all of who we are to work every single day.

Our work is really twofold. On the one hand we’re working with companies to ensure that the policies are in place and benefits are provided so that LGBT people can come out at work and not be afraid that they might lose their job, or they will be denied a promotion, but they can be their true, authentic self. Those we work towards that gather at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit. This year, we’ll be in San Francisco, November 3-6, bringing together close to 3, 000 of our closest friends from over 30 countries. I personally invite all of you to join us.

At the same time as working with companies, we work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to help people get over their fear of coming out. Many European countries are very accepting of LGBT people – especially here in Spain. Yet, how many of you know someone who isn’t out at work?

We have to change hearts and minds so that we can all bring our whole selves to work – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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