Obituary: Patrice Billaud-Durand (1965-2020)
A person who made a difference in making our world better.
When Patrice joined the OECD in 1992, working firstly with the OECD Staff Association, it was a different world than today’s. It was also a period when millions were dying of AIDS. It was a world where many gay man and women were afraid to announce publiclly that they had a same-sex relationship, as this could have a major impact on their career if not end it bluntly. There was no way to legally formalise a relationship nor to extend your social benefits to your partner.
Patrice did everything to bring a change to the organisation. In 2001, with a small group of likeminded people, he and Jean-Luc Allet created the OECD GLOBE, the association for an inclusive OECD community, fighting for any sexual orientation to be accepted and against any kind of discrimination inthe workplace. It seemed an upward battle at first to get established and recognised, but with Patrice at the forefront, with his work ethic, knowledge, diplomatic skills, sense of fairness and his optimism, GLOBE succeeded and is now well acknowledged. His efforts were immensely valuable and Patrice took this role very seriously. One of the concrete examples of his achievements is obtaining medical cover from OMESYS for partners of OECD staff members, whether they were in a legally-recognised relationship or not, before the existence of the PACS (civil unions) for same-sex couples in France.
Since his departure to NATO in 2016, he has been a fierce fighter for diversity in that organisation too. Over the years, Patrice has taught us to fight for our rights and to respect diversity. We are thankful to him for all his work contributing to the OECD being a very different organisation these days, making it a better place for anyone; a place that celebrates diversity.
On 10 November, Patrice has suddenly left us. Our thoughts are with his husband Eric, his family, and his friends. Patrice will be sorely missed, but we will continue the work GLOBE initiated and will continue fighting for a society where all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome.
We are thankful for their testimonials to Malcolm Gain, Wilfrid Legg, Paulus Yntema, Bertrand Dagallier and other past and current members who have contributed to this remembrance.