On June 20, 2018 the U.S. Department of State hosted an LGBTI human rights webchat in honor of Pride Month — a month celebrating the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities in the United States and around the world. The theme of this year’s discussion: community leaders supporting inclusion and acceptance. The panelists, including representatives from the faith community, law enforcement and the private sector, highlighted a variety of perspectives on the importance of social inclusion of LGBTI individuals.
Viewers asked the experts questions and shared their own thoughts during the Facebook Live webchat. To watch the program in Spanish, please go to: https://youtu.be/AldlIN9KG5c.
This is an important time to have a conversation on international LGBTI human rights. While there has been a lot of progress in recent years, enormous challenges persist, particularly related to bias-motivated violence and anti-discrimination issues. The panel of experts shared their experiences and provided examples of practices and initiatives that promote inclusion, dignity and respect for all.
Father Kevin O’Brien, SJ, is currently the dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University. He frequently gives talks around the country. Prior to joining Santa Clara, O’Brien taught at Georgetown University’s Department of Theology. There he also held the position of vice president of Mission and Ministry where he headed inter-faith campus ministry programs. He received “internet fame” for his take on the Merry Christmas v Happy Holidays controversy where he takes a very inclusive view. He is a lawyer by training.
Sabrina Kent recently moved up to chief of staff at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. She works with leadership to advocate for economic empowerment of LGBT-owned businesses both within the U.S. and globally. Kent also leads the organization’s internship program, mentoring youth. Recent work includes participation on the Global Team with a focus on India.
Braden Schrag is a sergeant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department assigned to the Office of Community Engagement. This unit works in every religious and cultural community in Las Vegas and focuses on prevention, intervention, and outreach in all sectors with a focus on gangs, human trafficking, countering violent extremism, refugee integration and connection, and proactive jail programming. His law enforcement experience includes supervision, instruction, intergovernmental services, homeland security, and program development.
Moderator: Cory Andrews joined the Department of State in January 2010 as a civil service Foreign Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).
Since March 2017, he has served in DRL’s in the Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy (DRL/PPD). He previously served in the Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs (DRL/WHA) where his portfolio included 15 countries of the Caribbean Basin as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex issues for Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Cory also served as the Communications Director for GLIFAA, the State Department’s LGBT+ employee affinity group from January 2011 to August 2013.