The world became just a little bit smaller Tuesday evening at the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle. Approximately 250 people joined the World Affairs Council (WAC) as they presented Jessica Stern, Program Director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), 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 was moderated by Charlene Strong, Washington State Human Rights Commissioner and Co-Editor of The Seattle Lesbian.
The structured commentary began with a commanding video on the subject of international gay rights featuring United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Stern took the stage to challenge the crowd by interpreting the five main reasons one should care about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights on a global platform. The former Human Rights Watch fact-facilitator and London School of Economics master’s graduate successfully contemplated the message of the evening: gay rights as human rights and human rights as gay rights.
“This is a time of change,” said Stern. “The current administration is the most LGBT friendly in history.”
Citing the Chilean government as well as the Vatican and Islamic Conference, Stern led the audience through a history lesson set within modern day time in an effort to disassociate truth from fallacy that might, ultimately, affect the future. Her delivery was flawless.
A confident and collected Strong entered the stage to demand equality supporters write more than just a check to an organization they know nothing about, asking the crowd, “Are we apathetic? Have we lost motivation? Why aren’t we more engaged?”
The Washington State Human Rights Commissioner (appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire) didn’t stop there. “We aren’t getting it. If we were getting it, we would have equality,” she expressed, passionately. “Enough is enough. It’s time for everyone to carry the water.”
The room applauded as Strong took her seat to begin her moderation of the Question/Answer segment. The World Affairs Council received a standing ovation following the event – something that organizers say, “hasn’t happened in a very long time.” No doubt due to the unfiltered guidance of Stern, Dr. Kaoma and Strong.
To listen to the entire event from start to finish, click here.