Gay Rights as Human Rights
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May 15, 2012 @ 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
||Center for Spiritual Living, Celebration Hall
5801 Sand Point Way NE
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||Member: $10.00, Non-member: $15.00, Student: $10.00
|| Community Programs
“Human Rights” is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “rights regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.” Hillary Clinton stated in her December 6, 2011 remarks in recognition of International Human Rights Day that one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time is the unequal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. While our headlines in Washington and the United States tell us of struggles to equalize rights, such as marriage and the treatment of youth, the issue is one that spans borders. Certain countries, such as Argentina and South Africa, have legally protected the rights of gays. Other countries, like Uganda, do not have such protections in place, and LGBT people can face anything from harassment to death. What is being done to protect the rights of these people, and what can we do from afar to express our values in this situation?
The World Affairs Council presents Jessica Stern, Program Director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Dr. Kapya Kaoma, Project Director at Political Research Associates, for a conversation on the international perspective on the topic of gay rights as human rights. The Q&A will be moderated by Charlene Strong, Washington State Human Rights Commissioner and Co-Editor of The Seattle Lesbian.
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Jessica Stern, Program Director at the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, is an advocate, researcher, and trainer working for the promotion of human rights internationally. As the first LGBT human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, she conducted fact-finding investigations and advocacy around sexual orientation and gender identity in countries including Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. As a Ralph Bunche Fellow at Amnesty International, she spearheaded anti-racism initiatives and documented police brutality. She was a founding collective member of Bluestockings, which was New York’s only women’s bookstore. She has campaigned extensively for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and economic justice with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Control Ciudadano, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Urban Justice Center. She holds a masters degree in human rights from the London School of Economics. She is a member of the board of directors of Queers for Economic Justice and an advisor to the New York Women’s Foundation.
Dr. Kapya John Kaoma is a Project Director at Political Research Associates, and an ordained Anglican with a particular interest in human rights, ecological ethics and mission. A former dean of St. John’s Cathedral and lecturer at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe and academic dean of St. John’s Anglican Seminary in Kitwe, Zambia, Dr. Kaoma produced a report entitled “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia” that prompted invitations to testify before the United States Congress and the United Nations. He represented the Anglican Communion at the Edinburgh 2010 conference, presenting a paper on mission and ecology. He is currently the Rector of Christ Church, Hyde Park, MA and a Visiting Researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission. He received his doctorate in Ethics from Boston University.
Charlene Strong was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2007 as the Washington State Human Rights Commissioner. Her work with the Washington State legislature on behalf of marriage equality is chronicled in her award-winning documentary, for my wife…
In 2011, Charlene was booked on a college tour visiting no less than 20 U.S. universities to speak to students, staff and special guests about the importance and immediacy of equality in our nation and worldwide. In addition to her work as a public speaker, Charlene Strong is the co-editor of the largely popular LGBT online magazine The Seattle Lesbian. In just over one year alone, The Seattle Lesbian has reached more than one million readers globally. The magazine is currently undergoing expansion options into other markets.
An activist is usually inspired to illicit change within her community when a life-altering experience occurs. For Charlene, it was when her wife, Kate Fleming, perished in a flash flood in 2006. Charlene was denied the right to see her in the hospital. She realized then that she had two options: become a victim or fight for her life – quite literally. She inevitably chose the latter. In 2010, her extremely personal fight led her to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and the president of the SEIU, the largest nurses’ union in the nation.
Prior to her partner’s death, Charlene worked with the Human Society’s Pet Project, which provided HIV/AIDS patients with help and care for their pets. She designed and managed their veterinary clinic to insure pet care and wellness visits and implemented an intake committee to access candidate needs. She also worked with the Archdiocese of Seattle on an LGBT task force dedicated to improving acceptance and understanding within the Archdiocese of LGBT parishioners.
Note: The main program will be preceded by a Community Meet & Greet, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall. This will be an opportunity to network, get to know the work of local organizations that will be tabling, and to meet our speakers and moderator. If you are an organization interested in sponsoring the event and/or tabling during the Community Meet & Greet, please email Christina Ygona at email@example.com.
City of Seattle Human Rights Commission
City of Seattle LGBT Commission
Elliott Bay Book Company
Equal Rights Washington Education Fund
Greater Seattle Business Association
Out for Sustainability
The Rainbow Center Tacoma
Three Dollar Bill Cinema
UW Human Rights Center
Southbound on I-5:
Take Exit 171 (for NE 71st St/NE 65th St) onto 6th Ave. Take a slight onto 71st Street, and turn right onto Roosevelt Way after crossing the bridge. In five blocks, turn left onto 65th Street and follow it for 2 miles. Turn right onto Princeton Way and continue on it as it curves and turns back into 65th Street. In a half mile, take a sharp right on Sand Point Way NE. The Center for Spiritual Living will be on the right. Free parking is available in the lot.
Northbound on I-5:
Take Exit 170 (for Ravenna Blvd/NE 65th St) onto 8th Ave. Turn right onto 65th Street and follow it for 2 miles. Turn right onto Princeton Way and continue on it as it curves and turns back into 65th Street. In a half mile, take a sharp right on Sand Point Way NE. The Center for Spiritual Living will be on the right. Free parking is available in the lot.
The Center for Spiritual Living is accessible by bus routes 30, 71, 74, 75, and 995.
The Center for Spiritual Living is directly adjacent to the Burke-Gilman Trail, and a rack is located on site to secure your bike.
The World Affairs Council cannot refund cancellations later than 48 hours prior to an event.
The World Affairs Council is a non-partisan, non-profit organization which provides a forum for speakers representing diverse points of view. The opinions expressed by any and all speakers, presenters and/or guests at Council events are those of the speaker alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the World Affairs Council members, staff, Board of Trustees, or Advisory Council.