Sayid Abdullaev, a University of Pennsylvania graduate and human rights advocate, is one of 30 people shortlisted from over 75 countries for the Rising Star Programme, a contest to grant a person to travel to outer space on the XCOR Lynx® Spacecraft. If selected, Abdullaev will become the first openly gay man to travel outside earth's atmosphere, according to Katie Sgarro.
The global competition is sponsored by Kruger Crowne (a motivational speaker and talent management company) and One Young World (a global forum for young leaders) and is intended to provide a platform for its recipient and their cause.
Already an active advocate, Abdullaev co-founded AsylumConnect with fellow UPenn grad Sgarro to bring lifesaving resources to LGBT asylum seekers upon arrival to the U.S. He hopes to use this platform as an opportunity to inspire progress for the LGBT community and other refugees as he explains:
"Through this program, I seek to augment active participation of youth from across the world, in peace-building processes through social entrepreneurship and leadership programs. By leading discussion on a global scale, as a human rights advocate and social entrepreneur, I hope to support LGBTQ refugees aiding them in their pursuit of happiness, freedom and safety."
With a generation of devoted young leaders like Abdullaev and Sgarro, it seems that the sky may not be the limit for LGBT progress, but a stepping stone.