In honor of Pride Month, Peace Corps will offer an online info session this Saturday, June 20th, 11 am – 12 pm Pacific time, exploring the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals who serve their country through Peace Corps.
All Peace Corps Volunteers must work hard to adapt to their service assignments, learn a foreign language, and fit in with the local culture. LGBT Volunteers face special additional challenges, including being discreet, if not entirely closeted, about their sexual identities while in their host communities.
This online info session — requiring an internet connection — will discuss topics such as:
- Balancing the desire to be true to ourselves with the need to be respectful of the host community
- What support is available to LGBT applicants and volunteers
- What, if any, LGBT community exists in host countries
- Strategies for success in developing personal and professional relationships with host country nationals
The info session will feature a Ukraine Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jeffrey Janis, as well as China Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Peace Corps staffer Kate Kuykendall. (Check out this NPR segment about Pride Week in China.)
Registration is required — learn more. The session will be recorded. I’ll post the link here, but you can also email Peace Corps’ Kate Kuykendall, kkuykendall [at] peacecorps.gov, for details.
If you are a prospective LGBT Peace Corps Volunteer, also check out this post about the LGBT Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group.
This month, The New Service podcast will take a look at LGBT experiences in both Peace Corps and AmeriCorps so look for that later this week—it will feature Kate as well as representatives from two domestic service corps.
I’ve always wanted to serve my country by joining the Peace Corps but I’ve always hesitated due to uncertainties on where I would be assigned hopefully this sessions with Kate Kuykendall and Jeffrey Janis would help me eliminate those doubts that i have.