Mexico’s annual LGBT Confex will return for a two-day conference on 26-27 October: its first in Mexico City.
This will be the conference’s sixth annual meeting. Previous events have taken place Puerto Vallarta, Cancún, Guadalajara, Vallarta-Nayarit and Mérida.
The event has consistently grown in size, and organizers say that it now has the support of government agencies – not least since the country has become aware of the value of LGBT tourism to the country.
The Mexico Ministry for Tourism has previously found that LGBT travellers spend, on average, US$1,550 (€1,383) per person, almost double the $780 (€696) average visitor spend.
The conferences aim is to promote the business case for diversity and inclusion, forge alliances between both businesses and LGBT individuals, and highlight the economic power of the LGBT market.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Inclusive Innovation: we create, we innovate and we revolutionize.’
Headline sponsors are AT&T and Scotiabank, with support from the federal Secretary of Tourism.
Ruben Sandoval, founder of the event, told Gay Star Business that this year’s expanded Confex will explore ten specific areas: business, tourism, academic, entrepreneurship, technology, media, film, fashion, social and talent.
He said he was looking forward to the first LGBT Confex in Mexico City, which he said presented, ‘both a major challenge and a great opportunity.’
Reflecting back on the five years of LGBT Confex, he said that there had been progress on LGBTI rights in the country but, ‘there is still a lot to be done.’
He said the introduction of same-sex marriage and a Mexican Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex couples adopting were the two chief victories of the past five years for the local LGBTI communities.
‘There is not a national law protecting LGBT community specifically but there is a law to prevent and eradicate discrimination to vulnerable populations that was created in 2011 and reformed last year, which includes LGBT community.’
With regards to workplace inclusion, he pointed to the fact that 20 well-known national and international businesses (including Banamex, Dow, Ford, Google, IBM and AT&T) had united to form the Pride Connection Mexico group – to advocate for LGBT diversity, inclusion and protections in the workplace.
A spokesperson for AT&T said in statement to Gay Star Business that it supported LGBT Confex because, ‘We support efforts aligned with our values, and LGBT Confex is an excellent example of this commitment.
‘It focuses on generating dialogue to promote and strengthen economic, cultural, and humanitarian empowerment in high-quality alternative spaces providing business, training, and information for the LGBT market in Mexico and Latin America.’
‘Research shows a direct correlation between open business environments and improvements in productivity and talent retention’
Among speakers attending will Selisse Berry, CEO of Out & Equal Advocates; Araceli Ramos of Tequila José Cuervo; and Aritha Wickramasinghe of K&L Gates.
Wickramasinghe, who recently topped a global list of LGBTI future leaders in the business world, told Gay Star Business: ‘In an increasingly competitive business environment, it is important that we create an environment where all employees, irrespective of the sexual orientation or gender identity, can be themselves.
‘Research shows a direct correlation between open business environments and improvements in productivity and talent retention. It is this message that LGBT Confex aims to get across to business and to LGBT professionals, whether they are in the closet or out of it.’