Maria Sjödin appointed Executive Director of Outright Action International


OutRight Action International have announced the selection of Maria Sjödin as its new executive director.

With 25 years of experience advocating globally for LGBTIQ equality, Sjödin will lead the international human rights organisation dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people at a pivotal time of change, expansion, and renewal.

The appointment follows a yearlong, extensive search process that involved highly-qualified, diverse and passionate candidates from around the globe.

Sjödin, who previously served as OutRight’s acting executive director, succeeds Jessica Stern who joined the Biden Administration last September as the United States Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons at the State Department.

“I am honored and privileged to be given the responsibility to lead OutRight Action International,” Sjödin said.

“Our focus on accelerating legal and social change across the world is at a very critical moment. While LGBTIQ communities are more visible than ever, governments, in too many places, are trying to stop or even roll back on our rights and progress.

“My vision is that OutRight will be there, for communities in crisis, for emerging organizations in underfunded regions and for the work that creates sustainable change, ensuring that LGBTIQ people can live in safety, with dignity and with our rights protected.”

A member of the senior management team, Maria also served as OutRight’s deputy executive director, overseeing the communications and development teams.

During this period, the organisation saw significant growth in revenue, enabling strong programmatic expansion, as well as growth in donor engagement, strategic partnerships, and visibility.

Sjödin also helped launch pioneering initiatives including the organisation’s LGBTIQ-specific COVID-19 and Ukraine Emergency Funds. The latter is aimed at providing assistance to LGBTIQ people who are in need of safe shelter, basic necessities, and humanitarian support as a result of the ongoing Russian war on Ukraine.

Prior to joining OutRight, Sjödin was the executive director of RFSL, Sweden’s largest LGBT organisation and one of the oldest LGBT organisations in the world.

During their tenure, Sjödin established RFSL’s international program and played a key role in advocating for marriage equality and the abolishment of forced sterilization amongst trans people as a requirement for legal gender recognition.

OIP Staff


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