The Foreign Service Journal, September 2012

62 F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L / S E P T EMB E R 2 0 1 2 A F S A N E W S O n June 18, AFSA President Susan Johnson opened the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies 2012 Equality Awards ceremo- ny by welcomingmembers and others to the association’s headquarters and expressed pleasure in hosting GLIFAA’s event for the first time. Then-GLIFAAPresident T. J. Lunardi honored this year’s winners — two ForeignService officers, JeremyCurtinand Robyn McCutcheon — for their person- al and professional courage, their shared goal of promoting amore diverse Foreign Service and their commitment to the les- bian, gay, bisexual and transgender com- munities. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills’ key- note speech celebrated the awardees and expressedgratitude for their “contributions to this nation.” Patient and Knowledgeable During Jeremy Curtin’s more than 30 years in the Foreign Service, he specialized in international public affairs and strategic communications. He served inEurope and East Asia, including asminister-counselor for public affairs in Seoul. Throughout his career, Curtinhas been a tireless advocate onbehalf of LGBT fam- ilies. In presenting the award, Lunardi described him as a “patient and knowl- edgeable resource.” The award honors Curtin for his “efforts to ensure that the partners and spouses ofLGBT foreign affairs employees receive equal rights andaccessiblebenefits.” Uponreceiving the award,Curtinobserved, “There is still a lot tobe done, but the com- mitment is there.” At present, Curtin is a senior fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, where he is devel- oping a program to explore how govern- ment andnongovernmental organizations can incorporate new communication technologies, including social media, to achieve strategic objectives. Courage and Selflessness RobynMcCutcheon, currently serving in the Information Programs Center in Bucharest, hasmarked a path for all those who follow behind her by becoming the first Foreign Service officer to go through gender transitionwhile serving at anover- seas post. The award commends “her courage and selflessness in serving as a role model for transgender foreign affairs employees and a pioneer in transgender rights.” McCutcheonwas unable to attend the event, but her response to receiving the award was short and eloquent: “Gender transition takes the same courage as run- ningout of a burningbuilding. Iwill strive to justify all the confidence you showinme today. Never have I felt this proud to serve my country as in this moment.” McCutcheon served as economic offi- cer inTashkent from2008 to 2010, where she oversaw the beginning phase of nego- tiations leading to the U.S.-Uzbekistan Science and Technology Cooperation agreement that was signed in December 2010. Before that, she served in Moscow in the consular section and, then, in the office of Environment, Science and Technology, where shemanaged the civil- ian nuclear energy portfolio at a time of intense negotiations over the U.S.-Russia PlutoniumManagement andDisposition Agreement and a uranium suspension agreement governing trade innuclearfuel. From2004 to2005, she servedontheRussia deskmonitoringRussia’s external relations. Prior to joining State,McCutcheonwas a NASA engineer and worked on the Hubble Space Telescope Project. GLIFAA EQUALITY AWARDS CEREMONY Honoring Personal and Professional Courage BY BETH ROMAGNOLI, AFSA STAFF GLIFAA Equality Award winner Jeremy Curtin (L) with T. J. Lunardi, GLIFAA president. The award honors Curtin for his “efforts to ensure that the partners and spouses of LGBT foreign affairs employees receive equal rights and accessible benefits.”