In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Bruce Knotts, Director of the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations.
Bruce was a persistent voice in United Nations committee meetings always raising his hand asking, “what about LGBTQ people in this”. Prior to him, there had been occasional mention of lesbian rights with women-focused summits, but never the full LGBTQ spectrum. Bruce worked tirelessly to lobby other delegates to gain vocal support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transcend, and queer (LGBT) rights. The momentum began. Bruce was granted a United Nations workshop on LGBTQ rights. He discovered Norway was considering putting a resolution forward. His workshop turns from the intent of education to gain support to being an active working group. As we discussed in the first video/podcast, the Unitarian Universalists have a long tradition of being an inclusive and welcoming congregation faith for all. They respect and value all world faiths and celebrate all in their interesting and often engaging services. Bruce Knotts a former US State Department representative, became the Directors of the Unitarian Universalist office at the United Nations in 2008. With full support and backing of the President and board of the Unitarian Universalist Association (https://www.uua.org) he took the role with his clear personal and organizational missions to drive hard for LGBTQ rights and equality at the UN.
1st episodes discussing what is Unitarian Universalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF3rc…
- 01:00 What does the UUA office at the United Nations do?
- 02:00 UUA President approves strong advocacy for LGTQ rights with work at United Nations
- 02:45 As of 2008 the only United Nations level discussion happened in March at a Women’s conference then only discussing lesbian rights. Very little to no other discussions throughout the year on LGBTQ rights.
- 03:00 Persistance and lobbying lead to first-ever LGBTQ workshop in the 60-year history of these international conferences
- 08:10 Now the United Nations has policies and programs in all 108 agencies that benefit LGBTQ people around the world including their employees, like domestic partner benefits, which they didn’t have before.
- 10:00 Right-wing jumped in around 2012 , holding ground. Your votes at all levels count.
Connect with Bruce Knotts on OutBüro: https://www.outburo.com/profile/bruce…
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Learn more about Unitarian Universalist and locate a local church near you: https://www.uua.org/
Here is their LGBTQ page: https://www.uua.org/lgbtq
Bruce stated that between 2008 – 2012 the pro-LGBTQ coalition was making great strides. Then the evangelical right-wing groups who typically loath the United Nations started to show up to oppose any proposed action regarding advancing rights and equality for LGBTQ citizens around the world. He clarified that as of now no ground made has been lost, yet no significant advancements have been won since. We discussed the importance of never resting on the issues of LGBTQ rights and equality. For example, when the United States Marriage Equality was passed, many organizations simply shut down believing their work was done. That was a mistake. They could have leveraged all the infrastructure to push for the same in other countries and broadened to include a wider set of issues faced by LGBTQ people. We further discussed the importance of voting in every election at all levels. The issues can affect you and others in the district/community. Your vote matters. Your involvement matters.
To connect with Bruce find him on OutBüro here. https://www.outburo.com/profile/bruceknotts/
Join me and Bruce on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/