Zafrir Nesher-Kazaz, who works for the Israeli Embassy, told the Washington Blade last week that he came up with the idea behind Gays and Lesbians International — or GLINT — because he wanted to meet other LGBT people who work “in embassies like I do.”
Nesher-Kazaz late last year reached out to Roz Campion and James Eke of the British Embassy who agreed to work with him to create GLINT. Iván Chanis Barahona of the Permanent Mission of Panama to the Organization of American States became involved with the group after he and Nesher-Kazaz met through a mutual friend who works at the International Monetary Fund.
“The group is for networking and fun beyond politics,” Nesher-Kazaz told the Blade. “The goal is that anyone from any embassy will be encouraged to show and join the group, not representing governments but proud individuals.”
The State Department and the World Bank both have LGBT affinity organizations, but GLINT is the only group in the nation’s capital that specifically caters to LGBT foreign embassy staffers.
“We’re all here,” Chanis told the Blade. “We have a baseline of things we can share and relate to.”
Campion added she feels GLINT will provide an opportunity for members to discuss how to obtain a visa that would allow their partners to work in the U.S. and a variety of other issues they may confront while in the nation’s capital. She told the Blade the advancement of LGBT rights in many countries throughout the world provides an additional backdrop for which embassy staffers can meet and discuss experiences in their respective countries.
“For us it’s a moment of real change for the international gay community,” said Campion. “All the more reason for us to get together and see how we can support each other, whether it’s about wedding planning or something much more grim.”
Nesher-Kazaz, Chanis and Campion each stressed they are members of GLINT as individuals, and not representatives of their respective governments.
“I’m 6,000 miles, 9,800 kilometers away from home,” Nesher-Kazaz told the Blade. “I’m trying to feel home here away from home. So this is part of it; sharing; giving; fun; drinks, but sharing hey, this is what’s going on in my country.”
GLINT’s first event will take place on the second floor of Number Nine (1435 P St., N.W., between 14th and 15th Streets) on Wednesday from 6 p.m. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Log onto www.glintdc.com or www.facebook.com/glintdc for more information.