STAR / Peace Corps Nicaragua

STAR is a group of LGBTQ and allied Peace Corps volunteers who support one another, train staff on LGBTQ issues, and collaborate with Nicaraguan communities.


1. Pride Managua

pride-managua
In June, a group of Peace Corps volunteers attended Pride in Managua, where they were surrounded by hundreds of other people celebrating LGBTQ and allies identities in the streets of Managua. Photo by Coco Lim.

From Coco Lim, EEP 67:

At the end of the march was a small stage with a sign that said, ‘Existimos, resistimos, y celebramos.’  As a queer woman, seeing the word existimos and being surrounded by other LGBTIQ individuals was an incredibly empowering experience that might have made me tear up.  Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I’m out of the closet and openly identify as queer.  When you have spent more than half of your life terrified that someone will find out your secret or (worse) you will have to settle for a man, these are the moments that make you very happy that your existence is valid.  

What made this experience special to me was the lack of corporate sponsors and suspiciously high numbers of straight couples.  It did not feel like LGBTIQ identities were being exploited for profit or made to be trendy by people who are terrified that they will get hit on by someone of the same gender.  It felt like a genuine, authentic demonstration of the resilience and solidarity of the LGBTIQ community.”

 

2. Support group:

In July, STAR organized an LGBTQ and allied support group meeting. Here’s what I said about it: 

This weekend, I came back from my vacation to an LGBTQ and allied support group meeting, the first of which has been held with @peacecorpsnicaragua. It was so nice to chat with other queer and allied volunteers about what the word "pride" means and to answer the question "How can I be an ally?" that so many of the 15 volunteers in attendance were wondering. My main takeaway was that in order to be an ally, one must respectfully acknowledge difference. None of us are the same. All of us have identities that impact our experiences in different ways, and depending on who you talk to, it's okay to ask things like "How do you identify?" Instead of making assumptions. Questions like "I know you identify as x. Does that affect your experience at all? If so, how?" are important. Having an open attitude is something I've used as an ally. If you don't know something, it's better to ask rather than making assumptions. Thanks for organizing @hailee.reed and @haleyyyjules 😊

A post shared by Char (@vulnerabletraveler) on

 

3. New Logo

star-logo
From HE 65 PCV John Kotula: “STAR is a group of LGBTQ volunteers within Peace Corps Nicaragua who support each other, offer training to staff and others, and collaborate with the LGBTQ community in Nicaragua. They are doing great work! I got asked to design a logo for them and these are what I came up with.” Here, John queered up the national bird, the Guardabarranco. Thanks for our stunning new logo, john!

 

4. ICD& Staff Training in Managua

During the first week of August, some STAR members were selected to participate in a Diversity ICD&I training for Peace Corps Nicaragua staff. Peace Corps Nicaragua hosted two wonderful diversity trainers from Peace Corps Headquarters who helped facilitate a week’s worth of discussions revolving around exploring self-identity, microagressions, and creating a workplace that embraces diversity, and more.

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Photo by Eynard Gutierrez.

 

5. We want you to let us know how we can support your sexual diversity projects in site! We want to try and branch out to community projects now that most of our staff has been trained and any ideas are welcome! Email us at pcvni.star@gmail.com!

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