OutRight's West Coast Director, Katie Hultquist, attended last weekend's Seattle Women's March 2.0 on Saturday, January 20. Katie spoke at the rally on the human rights of queer women, linking local and global organizing so no one is left behind, and how we can build together a world with freedom, equality and dignity for all LGBTIQ people.
Following is a transcript of her speech:
I'm Katie Hultquist from OutRight Action International. I'm a feminist. I'm a mom. And I'm a proud queer woman!
For 27 years, OutRight has been fighting for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, and intersex people all over the world.
Today, I'm here to ask you to rise up and stand with LGBTI people - especially queer women and trans people - and to let you know that we will rise and stand up with you.
I'm here because in 72 countries, same-sex relations are still illegal, with penalties including violence, incarceration, and even the death penalty.
I'm here because in the last 3 months, more than 200 people suspected of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender have been arrested in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia and Tanzania.
I'm here because one-third of LGBTIQ students skip school or drop out because of bullying and discrimination, and 40% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
I'm here because an estimated 75,000 LGBT immigrants are still waiting for a DREAM Act so that they may have a safe and legal path to citizenship.
And I'm here because since the Presidential election, there has been an attack on LGBT rights, from judicial nominees, to attempts to ban transgender troops, to placing 'religious liberty' over the rights of LGBTI Americans.
Globally, the U.S. is no longer speaking up for human rights or international cooperation.
THIS. MUST. CHANGE!!!
But there's also some good news:
1. In November, Seattle elected Jenny Durkan, our first woman mayor in more than 90 years - and our first openly lesbian mayor. Thank you, Seattle!
2. Washington state recently passed a new rule to simplify the process for people to change the gender on their birth certificate, and to offer a third gender option. Washington is one of only three states to take this step. Thank you to the advocates and organizations in our community who made this possible!
3. At the international level, the United Nations appointed the first-ever independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, who monitors human rights abuses against LGBTI people around the world - for the first time.
4. And finally, 26 countries now have marriage equality for same-sex couples, including most recently Australia and Costa Rica!
These steps forward only happened because YOU - WE organized, we voted and we demanded them. And the violence and discrimination that LGBTIQ people still face - especially queer women and trans people - will only stop if we demand it.
Right now, a lot of Americans are focused on the terrible things the White House is doing within the US. But OutRight is here to remind you that this president is spending just as much time menacing people globally. From threatening war with North Korea, to targeting Muslim nations, to dehumanizing our brothers and sisters in Haiti, El Salvador and across Africa, he is dangerous. And when LGBTI people cannot count on the US to be a force for human rights in the world, then we must be there for them. We need to fight for our rights in the US, and we must fight for women and LGBTI people globally. We cannot do one without the other.
That's why OutRight will NEVER stop fighting for equality and freedom, for all LGBTIQ people, everywhere. And we will support our partners who are doing the same here in WA.
I am proud to march and to stand with you. THANK YOU for standing with us!
Courtesy of OutRight Action International
[EDITOR'S NOTE: OutRight Action International cordially invites you to a special OutRight Talkstory event - 'Undivided: Rise Up in an Age of Backlash' - to be held on Friday, February 9, from 6:30-8pm at Atlas Workbase (500 Mercer St.) with keynote speakers OutRight Executive Director Jessica Stern and OutRight Caribbean Advisor (St. Lucia) Kenita Placide. Enjoy drinks and appetizers and bid on fabulous live auction items, including Hamilton tickets and getaways to Palm Springs, Puerto Vallarta and Whidbey Island. For more information and to RSVP, visit OutRightInternational.org/Seattle.]
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