Thursday, March 17, 2011

"A Reminder of the Need to be Open in the Public Square"

Remarks delivered prior to the screening of "Out In The Silence" at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC - March 16, 2011:

Good afternoon, I am Fabrice Houdart, the President of World Bank GLOBE, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender “Staff Club” of the World Bank.

Let me first welcome Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer the co-producers of the documentary “Out in the Silence”. We thank you for accepting the invitation to join us. It took 4 years for Joe and Dean to shoot and edit “Out in the Silence”. It is an often appalling, but ultimately a hopeful documentary about homophobia.

This documentary is a great tool to remind LGBT people of the need to be open in the public square and at work, not only for themselves, but also for the benefit of their community.

This documentary also tries to answer many of the questions that were raised in the past month here at the World Bank by staff members who openly objected to the distribution of the LGBT workplace survey launched by GLOBE.

Questions such as:

[What is] is the ambiguous and controversial agenda that lies behind the banner of discrimination based on “sexual orientation”?“,

why should there be an exclusive class of staff members of whom all the others should be “supportive”?

[are the activities of GLOBE] a step toward indoctrination and the restriction of the freedom of thought and religion?

and finally “doesn’t the staff have the freedom to judge homosexual acts to be objectionable on moral, religious and/or other grounds”?

Although these statements do not favor discrimination directly, the effect of what they stand for ultimately leads to discrimination. The same forces that Joe Wilson went to film in rural America and the fear of a so-called “gay agenda” are present everywhere in the World even right here in the heart of a development institution.

The message of the documentary you are about to discover is that the first step to fighting bigotry is for LGBT people to be out and visible so as to initiate a dialogue.

In an institution where survey results show that 56% of LGBT staff is not out to their supervisor and the majority is not out to their colleagues, it is a challenge which justifies the need for an increased presence of GLOBE not only at Headquarters but also in our Country Offices.

Thank you for coming and please enjoy the screening of "Out in the Silence".

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