On this very special episode, we mark Human Rights Day by speaking with Jessica Stern, the fierce & fabulous Executive Director of OutRight Action International. Founded in 1990 as the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), OutRight is one of the world's oldest & most important organizations working to advance LGBTI human rights. Collaborating with grassroots activists, researchers, elected officials, the United Nations, and many more partners across the globe, Jessica & OutRight are truly indispensable to the work of creating truly LGBTI-inclusive societies.
As Pride Months ends, we go to El Salvador for a conversation with Andrea Ayala, the Executive Director of ESMULES, Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreñas por la Diversidad. Violence, both in general and specifically against LGBTI people, is epidemic in El Salvador, but in this conversation, Andrea discusses the resilient work her organization is doing to make key Salvadoran institutions more responsive to the needs of the LGBTI community.
Uniformed Injustice: State Violence Against LGBT People in El Salvador, a 2017 report from the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, can be found here.
My guest for this first episode is Urooj Arshad, a fierce & fabulous queer Pakistani-American activist working for reproductive justice and against Islamophobia & homophobia. From Karachi to Illinois to Washington, D.C., Urooj's journey speaks powerfully to how we navigate our many identities in a complex & contradictory world.
Urooj's essay, "Finding Blingistan: My Journey Home to the LGBT Community in Pakistan," can be found here. Metro Weekly's interview with Urooj, "Queer, Muslim, an Immigrant, and Female," is online here.