New project tracks events affecting LGBT people around the world

Posted on 12 Apr 2017 at 4:04pm

The fountain at SUNY Albany that remains frozen 10 months of the year

I just got a press release from my college that they’re “hoping to do something about the plight of LGBTQ+ persons on a global scale.”

UAlbany — also known as SUNY Albany or State University of New York at Albany when I attended, or New York State College for Teachers at Albany when Harvey Milk attended, but should be known by its original name when it was founded in 1844, Albany Normal School, because the school is anything but normal — teamed up with a New York company Nowigence to create the new project.

So UAlbany is working with Nowigence to launch UAlbany LGBTQ+ Activity Tracker to gather data globally “and over time to map a pattern of positive and negative events concerning the LGBTQ+ population.”

From the press release:

The UAlbany LGBTQ+ News Activity Tracker was developed to track events (such as protests, violence, and efforts at legislation and protection) related to the LGBTQ+ community in various newspaper articles and media outlets worldwide. The tracker gathers data globally and over time to map a pattern of positive and negative activity trends concerning the LGBTQ+ population.

The tracker provides people around the world with a one-site stop where they can see the daily activity by governmental and non-governmental actors (reported by newspapers), both positive and negative related to the LGBTQ+ community from protests to repression and violence to protection.

The laws vary widely from nation to nation, and for LGBTQ+ individuals traveling to countries where rights are restricted, they may endanger their lives unknowingly. Through its proprietary monitoring system, Nowigence can provide real-time, useful data to help keep people safe.

It does this by monitoring more than 60,000 public and private sources, delivering focused and meaningful data. Far more than a news service, Nowigence seeks to significantly change market intelligence from an abstract, subjective and fragmented guessing game, into a clear, objective, evidence based science supporting strategic and tactical decision-making.

The project is headed by Victor Asal, co-author of the book, Legal Path Dependence and the Long Arm of the Religious State: Sodomy Provisions and Gay Rights Across Nations and Over Time, which examines how and why countries enact laws that criminalize same-sex activities and how countries change these laws.

And a couple of notes about SUNY Albany: Yes, we’ve always had an identity crisis and alumni never adopt the current name of the school. The school always touts that our most famous alums are two gay men — Harvey Milk and Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked. And what do Harvey Milk and I have in common? In addition to both going to Albany, we both moved from Albany to Dallas. (Harvey hated Dallas, though, and left after about six months).

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