Bruce Knotts, Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, and OutCaster Lucas
Part 1 — October 1, 2019
Part 2 will be released on November 1 and Part 3 on December 1.
Being LGBTQ in the United States can be difficult enough. We have marriage equality but still no protection in much of the country from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and other areas. The Canadian Supreme Court recently ruled that protecting LGBT people from discrimination overrides religious beliefs. The U.S. seems poised to take an opposite approach.
But it can be much worse in other parts of the world. Russia, never known for tolerance, has its notorious “gay propaganda” laws that increase antipathy toward LGBTQ people. In Chechnya, gay men have been subject to police beatings and thrown off buildings. OutCaster Dante commented on these atrocities in the September 2017 edition of OutCasting Overtime.
And it gets worse. So what are LGBTQ people to do when faced with these conditions in their home countries? Get out of the country, one would say, and that’s what many do. But exactly how? How do they get the paperwork to travel to a different country? Where do they go, and how do they gain admittance to a new country they hope will be safer? Where do they settle? Is there an “Underground Railroad” to assist them? What additional challenges and dangers do they face because they’re LGBTQ?
In this three part series — OutCasting’s first international coverage — OutCaster Lucas talks these issues with Bruce Knotts, a longtime international LGBTQ advocate. Bruce was a U.S. diplomat for more than 20 years before retiring from the State Department. Shortly thereafter, he accepted his current position of Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.