BIOS

Join us as we honor five Asian Human Rights Advocacy organizations that, along with IGLHRC staff in the region, have bravely produced a groundbreaking study designed to bring to light the realities of violence against LBT people throughout Asia where sometimes even the act of researching the subject is illegal. Together we celebrate Gay Japan News, KRYSS Malaysia, O Pakistan, Rainbow Rights Philippines, and Women's Support Group Sri Lanka.

KRYSS is committed to ending discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Malaysia. It works primarily with young people and those who are non-heteronormative. KRYSS carries out research, training, documentation, litigation advocacy, and uses creative platforms to advocate for non-discrimination and non-violence.

Women’s Support Group (WSG) was established in 1999, and was the first women’s organization that worked to protect and promote the rights of lesbians, bisexual women and transgendered (LBT) persons in Sri Lanka. For 15 years, WSG operated a drop-in centre and resource /research center for LBT people. Through women’s rights and human rights organizations, WSG advocated for LBT rights inclusion in the national human rights agenda.

Gay Japan News was established in 2005. It advocates for LGBT rights, translates LGBT-related news reports from around the world for Japanese LGBTI and allies, and submits shadow reports on LGBT human rights concerns in Japan to United Nations treaty bodies. Current directors are Hiroshi Mochizuki and Azusa Yamashita.

The Rainbow Rights Project (R-Rights) of the Philippines was established in 2005. It is an LGBT legal advocacy organization, comprised of gay and lesbian lawyers and gender activists. It uses policy research and analysis to advocate for legislative and legal reform, and educates the LGBT community and state institutions about LGBT rights under state law.

O, Pakistan was founded in Lahore, Pakistan in March 2009. It is dedicated to the empowerment of sexual minorities, specifically LGBTQ people. O is committed to resilience, knowledge-making and flourishing of queer communities, sexual minorities and their families and friends, and dedicated to “work by our community for our community.”

Todd Larson

Todd Larson served on the IGLHRC Board of Directors from 2007 to 2013 – a period of unprecedented transition, growth and stabilization of the organization. During the majority of that period, he served as co-Chair. Todd was recently pulled out of retirement on his farm in the midwest to assume a Presidential Appointment with one of the most senior LGBT-specific portfolios in the Obama Administration – as Senior LGBT Coordinator at US AID (Agency for International Development).

Todd previously served for twenty years with the United Nations - including the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. While at the UN, Todd played a pivotal role in shepherding IGLHRC’s successful application for consultative status at the UN.

Todd is also recognized for advancing LGBT equality within the UN. His work with the Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations and the UN Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Employees group led to what are considered the first LGBT affirmative, internal policy initiatives in the UN’s then 60 year history - particularly a successful decade long effort to convince the UN to provide domestic partners and same gender spouses of employees the same benefits granted to employees' opposite gender spouses.

In addition to IGLHRC, Todd has served on the boards of directors of a variety of organizations including the statewide LGBT Fair Wisconsin Education Fund, and various civic organizations near his farm.

Todd previously taught ‘International Organizations’ in the Political Science Department of Hunter College. He served as Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo from 1983-1985. He received his BA from Carleton College and his Master’s Degree (International Studies) and Juris Doctor from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he also received the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Public Service Award in 2007.