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Astoria couple starts nonprofit to bring together international LGBTQ human rights activists – QNS.com

Astoria couple starts nonprofit to bring together international LGBTQ human rights activists

Photos by Hugo Fernandes

One Astoria-based nonprofit is looking to unite and provide support for LGBTQ human rights activists from around the world.

Husband and husband duo Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes founded the organization the Global Partnership for Emerging Leaders (GPEL) earlier this year with the goal of helping empower emerging leaders within the LGBTQ global community.

The idea of the group was born after Davidoff, who has a background in nonprofit/fundraising and LGBTQ rights, attended numerous conferences which brought the LGBTQ community together and he wondered what happened to the connections made after the events were over.

“It’s this amazing thing, you have these three to four days where everyone is charged and all together but then after it’s like what’s next?” Davidoff said.

Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes
Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes

The Astoria resident always had the idea of forming the group as a passion project on the side but then decided to make it a reality after sitting down and speaking with his husband.

GPEL is based out of Astoria, which the couple has called home since 2008, and the couple plans to use the neighborhood as the location where LGTBQ activists from around the world will come together for the group’s first conference in July 2016.

Although the location of the conference is still being determined, the group would like participants to stay at hotels in either Astoria or Long Island City.

“I think there’s something nice to staying in the community and having the organization exist from here because from my viewpoint Astoria and Long Island City is right for startup culture,” Davidoff said. “Just for us in the eight years we’ve been here, Astoria and LIC have really changed and transformed and I think Astoria has always had this international fare. It’s something that stood out to me and I think that’s something that’s really novel of Astoria particularly and to me it would be interesting to be based here.”

Those who participate in the conference will be able to use the tools provided by GPEL and other LGBTQ activists to “use in the fight” back in their home countries. The group also plans to be a network where members can communicate and share experiences even after the conference is over.

To help with starting out, GPEL also began an Indiegogo online campaign with the goal of raising $2,000 which will go toward activities for the LGBTQ human rights activists and also help provide funds for participants making the trip to the city for next year’s conference.

An official launch party for GPEL, which has already created a leadership team in New York and is forming a team with members throughout the world, is expected to take place in September.

To donate to the campaign, click here. For more information on GPEL visit gpel.org or facebook.com/TheGPEL.

GPEL's Leadership Team
GPEL’s Leadership Team

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