Written by Amir Shaikezhanov for the QA Blog series “Resistance and Subversion” curated by QA 2018 committee member Ismail Shogo
A State Department foreign service officer shares the story that broke her heart.
This summer the three-year term of diplomatic service of Robyn Alice McCutcheon at the US Embassy in Astana expired. Robin is an openly transgender woman who supports the LGBT community of Astana. Kok.team interviewed Robyn and asked her to sum up her work in Kazakhstan.
On 20 and 21 December, the Equal Rights Trust launched three new comprehensive reports examining discrimination and inequality in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Published as these three countries mark the 25th year of their independence, the reports provide unprecedented insights into discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, political opinion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other grounds in states where little has previously been reported on such issues.
It is time to break my silence. I have left Kazakhstan but have not forgotten. I hold that the decisions by Consular officers to deny Sultana Kali an F-1 student visa to study in the US were discriminatory, rooted in transphobia. I do not say this lightly. See my latest web journal post, My Declaration, for the reasons why. I will continue to advance Sultana's cause in all possible forums both inside and outside the U.S. State Department. That inludes this court of public opinion.