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LGBTQ+ Community in International Development - with Zaak Garrett

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Produced by Lucy Lu and Maria-Jose Alvarez

This #PrideMonth, the Re: Project will be highlighting the experiences of the #LGBTQ+ community in International Development.

LGBTQ+ issue is such an important intersection topic yet it has rarely been discussed in the ID field. Through this *Diversity-Inclusion-Intersectionality* special podcast series, we hope to shed light on LGBTQ+ achievements in the sector to date, the changes that are waiting to happen, and the challenges they still face.

The series will feature our mentors' personal experience and stories about being LGBT+ working in the International development field and working on LGBT+ agendas in developing countries or working for international organizations!


Our first speaker is Zaak Garrett, Communications Support Officer at IOM - UN Migration and Co-founder of Dream Tree Thailand, an eco-conscious and colorful online community and platform that provides inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ and allies in Bangkok, Thailand.

In this podcast, Zaak shares their numerous LGBTQ+ initiatives they’ve worked on throughout their career, their navigation in career path as a non-binary individual in the humanitarian field, and their advice to an LGBTQ+ individual interested in taking a step toward a career in the international development sector.

Zaak is currently a communications consultant with IOM - UN Migration and Co-founder of Dream Tree Thailand. Passionate about everything LGBTQ+, women’s rights, and environmental issues, they are a journalist and human rights advocate, actively involved in various initiatives such as #PolicyPlease, #DontTellMeHowToDress, and Rainbow Migrants.

Learn more about the initiatives/organization in the links below:

❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 Policy Please , Press

❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 Dream Tree Thailand

❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜Rainbow Migrants

Learn more about Zaak: LinkedIn


[00:56] Would you first give us a brief introduction about who you are and what you do?

[01:29] Tell us about the exciting LGBT+ initiatives that you worked on throughout your career (Dream tree Thailand, rainbow migrant project, etc)

[05:13] How is it like navigating your career path as a non-binary individual in the humanitarian field?

[09:44] Based on your experience and observation, what area in the humanitarian and international development sector do you think has the most room for improvement in terms of LGBT+ inclusion?

[12:38] What advice would you give an LGBT+ individual who is just starting, or wishes to start, their career in the international development sector?

[14:36] Any final thoughts?

Advice from Zaak to other LGBTQ+ individuals who wish to work in Development:

  1. If you want a role, go for it! There’s no harm in trying! It’s always worth it to try!

  2. Don’t be afraid to leave a toxic environment (no matter how good it may look on your resume)! Take care of your mental wellbeing, be kind to yourself in the process!

  3. It's tough being the only queer person in the room but remember, YOU BELONG IN THE ROOM! Be positively affirming of who you are and your path. When opportunities arise, be brave and just take them because you deserve it!

If you are also interested in being featured in a podcast and sharing your story and help us bring more visibility to the LGBTQ+ community in the international development field, sign up here!


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Why should you join the RE:Project Community?

Our mission is to re-think, re-skill, and re-imagine the future of work for those in social science-related fields, with a focus on International Affairs and Development. We believe that technological changes have radically altered the way we work by disrupting skills requirements, creating challenges for young social scientists who largely rely on soft skills. Therefore, those pursuing generalist or qualitative disciplines will have to re-skill in an oversaturated job market favoring STEM and tech.

However, most universities’ career services do not yet offer such robust training for students. At RE: Project, we seek to help millennials and Gen Zs not only find a job, but build dynamic, “future proof” careers. We offer an active platform that demystifies career possibilities, helps build professional networks, and supports re-skilling for a changing job market.

At our core, we seek to reduce growing unemployment among young social scientists in an increasingly technologised job market. Our cutting-edge content allows our community members to stay current and learn from experts at the forefront of their industry.

In the short-run, we offer tailored career support by creating curated real-life, authentic content generated by real people of the millennial generation working the industries. Practitioners with 4–7 years of experience can offer as many insights (or more!) as 50-year-old CEOs and Directors about how to break into the industry.

This way, young job seekers can interact with mentors using social media live (visit our Linkedin page, Instagram coming soon), and blog posts.

User-generated blog posts, interviews, and tips will also be very welcome.

In the long run, the ultimate goal of this platform is to grow into the forefront community for the Future of Work for social scientists.

You can also get involved with our work as a mentor, a community ambassador right on organizational capacity. Find out more here

If you got any good content ideas, any interesting people you’d like us to interview, or interested in joining the team as a content creator email us at

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