Outright x MillerKnoll: A Partnership with an Impact

In honor of Pride Month, we interviewed an outstanding organization who MillerKnoll has partnered with since 2020 to better LGBTIQ lives around the globe.

Our featured organization, Outright International, is shaping a world that promotes equality and protects the human rights of LGBTIQ people.

We are proud to recognize this organization and their invaluable efforts to amplify, support, advocate for, and celebrate LGBTIQ communities worldwide.

Read on to learn more through our interview with Outright.

Q: Can you share a brief history of Outright International?

A: For nearly 35 years, Outright International has worked to eliminate the persecution, inequality and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people experience around the world.

Outright International was founded in 1990 by activist Julie Dorf. In the beginning, the organization partnered closely with activist Masha Gessen, to advocate for the decriminalization of same-sex relations and end the psychiatric hospitalization of LGBTIQ people in Russia. During this time, Outright also worked to bring life-saving medication and condoms into Russia to increase access to HIV/AIDS preventive measures and treatments.

In 2015, Jessica Stern, former Outright Executive Director and current U.S. Special Envoy for LGBTIQ human rights, addressed the first-ever meeting on violence against LGBTIQ people in the United Nations Security Council.

Caption: Outright Team and Activists at the UN General Assembly

Q: What are some specific ways that Outright International supports the LGBTIQ community?

A: Outright has 4 pillars that inform our programs and drive our work with LGBTIQ people and allies around the world.

  1. We amplify the voices and critical work of activists around the globe who are on the front lines of the LGBTIQ human rights movement. We equip our worldwide partners and allies with data from our global research and reports to draw attention to the systemic issues LGBTIQ communities continue to face.
  2. We advocate for LGBTIQ people by collaborating with governments, institutions, businesses, and individuals. We work to make inclusive protocols and programs by leveraging our presence as advocates with governments and diplomats at the United Nations.
  3. We support the LGBTIQ movement by providing grants and training to our grassroots partners worldwide – especially in areas where it is difficult to advocate due to significant backlash.
  4. We celebrate our wins and the global impact of our efforts because, although our work is far from over, it is important to acknowledge our progress.

Caption: 2024 UN Commission on Status of Women Parallel Meeting

Q: When did Outright International and MillerKnoll’s partnership begin and what does that partnership look like?

A: In 2020, Outright launched a COVID-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund to support LGBTIQ communities and organizations that were on the frontlines responding to the crisis. During this time, MillerKnoll connected with Outright to support this effort and learn more about our organization. Since then, our partnership has grown to include engagement at all levels throughout the year. From annual associate presentations to programmatic investments, MillerKnoll and the MillerKnoll Foundation continue to support our mission to secure human rights for LGBTIQ people everywhere, and we could not be more grateful.

Q: Why are corporate partnerships, like the one with MillerKnoll, important for your organization?

A: Outright engages with a wide array of corporate partners from a variety of industries to advance our work. These partnerships expose companies to an ever-growing population of LGBTIQ stakeholders while improving our global communities along the way.

MillerKnoll is a great example of how corporate partnerships support and advance our work. In fact, in 2021, Outright moved its New York headquarters closer to the United Nations. During this transition, the MillerKnoll Foundation provided support to Outright that helped furnish our new office and continue the essential programming we provide. This support was essential in providing our staff with a safe place to work and further exemplified MillerKnoll’s commitment to Outright and the global human rights of LGBTIQ people.

Caption: MillerKnoll Associates Participating in a Pride Fundraising Event

Q: What are some practical ways that people can support your organization?

A: A few ways to support our work include:

  • Staying informed about current events and developments in the global movement for LGBTIQ human rights. Visit our website for more information or sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on events, publications, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Participating in our campaigns to promote and expand our impact within your networks. This year, our annual Outright Proud campaign theme is Family Pride and the importance of spotlighting LGBTIQ families and their loved ones.
  • Attending special events such as our OutSummit conference in December or our annual Celebration of Courage Gala, which the MillerKnoll Foundation is sponsoring this year.

Any support you can offer helps advance our programs, fund our initiatives and create opportunities for collaboration.

Caption: Intersex Rights Advocacy at UN Geneva

Q: How do Pride Month donations from MillerKnoll Foundation support Outright International and the LGBTIQ community you serve?

A: Donations during Pride Month and throughout the year help our organization work to fill data gaps, mobilize resources, strengthen grassroots organizations, and advocate for the human rights of LGBTIQ people.

Support from partners like MillerKnoll helps us offer innovative programs such as Advocacy Week, a program that brings together 25-30 activists from around the world for a week at the United Nations in New York. This program gives grassroots activists an invaluable opportunity to build their knowledge of the New York-based UN system while educating state representatives about the lives and human rights of LGBTIQ people in their respective countries.

This year, there is no doubt that MillerKnoll’s support will continue to play a critical role in helping Outright achieve meaningful progress for LGBTIQ people everywhere. We remain proud to call MillerKnoll and the MillerKnoll Foundation our partners on our quest for global LGBTIQ equality.