2009.06.03: June 3, 2009: Headlines: Gay Issues: Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Gay Issues: Peace Corps: Gay Issues: Newest Stories: 2009.06.03: June 3, 2009: Headlines: Gay Issues: Peace Corps Press Release: Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.232.221) on Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - 6:42 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

“The Peace Corps has a unique mission of fostering cross-cultural understanding and experiences both in the countries we serve and in the U.S.” explained Peace Corps acting Director Jody K. Olsen. “The Peace Corps seeks to provide our host countries with a diverse group of Volunteers so those countries may learn about America’s diversity. In this spirit, I would like to applaud the many contributions of our gay and lesbian Volunteers and employees serving both at home and abroad. Let us all take this occasion to reflect upon how we can work toward building a more inclusive society.”

Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

Peace Corps Celebrates Gay Pride

Agency Recognizes and Honors Diversity within its Ranks

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2009 - Peace Corps honors the contributions of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Volunteers and employees throughout the month of June.

Peace Corps promotes an appreciation for diversity through supporting Volunteers and staff members regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. The agency has included sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy since 1994.

“The Peace Corps has a unique mission of fostering cross-cultural understanding and experiences both in the countries we serve and in the U.S.” explained Peace Corps acting Director Jody K. Olsen. “The Peace Corps seeks to provide our host countries with a diverse group of Volunteers so those countries may learn about America’s diversity. In this spirit, I would like to applaud the many contributions of our gay and lesbian Volunteers and employees serving both at home and abroad. Let us all take this occasion to reflect upon how we can work toward building a more inclusive society.”

This month, the Peace Corps will be participating in Pride celebrations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Boston. The agency will also host an online information session for prospective LGBT Volunteers on June 20. Learn more by going to the Events section of the Peace Corps website.

Homosexuality is considered socially unacceptable or even illegal in some of the countries where the Peace Corps has programs. Moreover, Volunteers are subject to the laws of their country of service. Those realities can create special challenges for Peace Corps Volunteers, and Peace Corps has taken steps to address those challenges. During their three-month training process, new Volunteers take part in diversity training sessions, and many Peace Corps posts offer peer support networks for Volunteers. Volunteers learn techniques to manage cultural differences and are encouraged to support one another.

While a Volunteer’s sexual orientation may add additional variables to the adjustment process in-country, the Peace Corps has had numerous successful gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Volunteers who were able to overcome the challenges and serve successfully. Here are some examples:


* Returned Volunteer Ryan Wertz (Panama, 1990-94) said, "People often ask me if being gay made it more difficult to serve in the Peace Corps. In all honesty, I don’t think that it did. In many of the countries where Volunteers serve, there is little tolerance for sexual diversity. All Peace Corps Volunteers need to respect the cultural norms of the people they are assigned to serve. I did not need to ‘give up’ who I was as a person in order to be a successful Volunteer. However, I did need to balance my own identity with the belief systems of the people for whom I worked."


* Returned Volunteer Edwin Patout (Ukraine, 2005-07) said, "Being gay is a challenge no matter where you live. Becoming an active member of the GLBT Peace Corps support group was a great help. I decided that coming out was not a priority and focused instead on the challenges of just being a good Peace Corps Volunteer."


* Returned Volunteer and former Peace Corps staff member Rolande Lewis (Cote d’Ivoire, 1996-1998) explained, "When I arrived in-country, I faced definite challenges. I am a transgendered woman; however, during my service, I did not know any word for what I was. To detract attention away from my femininity, I immersed myself in Ivoirian culture as much as possible. I worked in the maternity clinic and was thoroughly accepted among the women. The Peace Corps offered me the chance to explore who I was."


* Peace Corps staff member and Returned Volunteer Kate Kuykendall (China, 1999-01) said, "Although it was sometimes challenging to balance my desire to be open and honest with the necessity to be discreet in my community, I had to consider that I was a guest in a host country and needed to respect the local values. The Peace Corps staff and my fellow Volunteers were a tremendous support in this process. My Peace Corps experience also taught me how important my sexuality is to who I am, and made me a much stronger advocate for LGBT rights both in the U.S. and abroad."




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: June, 2009; Gay Issues





When this story was posted in June 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:




Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed

 Site Index Search PCOL with Google Contact PCOL Recent Posts Bulletin Board Open Discussion RPCV Directory Register

Join Us Mr. President! Date: June 16 2009 No: 1377 Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign.

Read how RPCV's rallied and and marched to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age.

May 30, 2009: Peace Corps' Roadmap Date: May 29 2009 No: 1369 May 30, 2009: Peace Corps' Roadmap
Peace Corps' Roadmap for the Future 26 May
Who are the Candidates for Peace Corps Director? 24 May
Have French Atomic Tests put PCVs at Risk? 1 May
Obama asks Congress for 10% increase in PC Budget 7 May
Guy Consolmagno debunks "Angels & Demons" 22 May
Obama praises Dodd at credit card signing 22 May
John Garamendi front runner in California primary 22 May
Al Kamen writes: New management structure at PC HQ? 22 May
Damian Wampler's play Twin Towers opens in NYC 21 May
Michael Volpe learns that DC is networking capital 21 May
Dr. Mike Metke returns to Costa Rica 10 May
Jesse Fleisher Lives well on less 14 May
Al Kamen writes: PCVs peak at 11,000 under Obama Budget 11 May
James W. Kostenblatt is making a difference in Mozambique 10 May
Karen and Warren Master host Kyrgyzstan teen 9 May
Alberto Ibargüen writes: The Future of Newspapers 9 May
PC Monitor 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus in Mexico 1 May
Paul Theroux writes: Obama and the Peace Corps 1 May
Johnnie Carson to head State Department African Affairs 29 Apr
Michael O'Hanlon writes: Grading Obama's First 100 Days 29 Apr
Amy Potthast writes: The Peace Corps Lottery 23 Apr
Read more stories from April and May 2009.

PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director Date: December 2 2008 No: 1288 PCOL's Candidate for Peace Corps Director
Honduras RPCV Jon Carson, 33, presided over thousands of workers as national field director for the Obama campaign and said the biggest challenge -- and surprise -- was the volume of volunteer help, including more than 15,000 "super volunteers," who were a big part of what made Obama's campaign so successful. PCOL endorses Jon Carson as the man who can revitalize the Peace Corps, bring it into the internet age, and meet Obama's goal of doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.

Director Ron Tschetter:  The PCOL Interview Date: December 9 2008 No: 1296 Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.



Read the stories and leave your comments.








Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Peace Corps Press Release

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Gay Issues

PCOL44161
13


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: