Trans in State: Trans Voices in Diplomacy
Tuesday, August 8th @ 9:00AM – 10:00AM (ET)
About the Event:
Join glifaa: LGBTQIA+ Pride in Foreign Affairs Agencies for ‘Trans in State: Trans Voices in Diplomacy‘ a groundbreaking virtual roundtable event brought to you by glifaa and the Department of State. Meet our inspiring trans colleagues and dive into their unique narratives, all with a focus on de-mystifying the transgender experience. From discussions about transitioning within the workplace to their invaluable contributions in shaping foreign policy, this event aims to celebrate and recognize the crucial role trans voices play in our diverse diplomatic landscape. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, engage, and support diversity, equity, and inclusion in diplomacy. Witness firsthand the power of diversity in shaping a more inclusive and effective foreign policy. Be a part of this transformative dialogue – because in our Department, every voice matters and contributes to the greater good of our global society.
This discussion will focus on some of the more advanced and nuanced topics around transition, gender identity, and trans people, and assumes a basic understanding of those and related topics.
If you would like to learn more, please see the following websites and video below:
“The Science of Being Transgender”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLcIbjgnGlQ
“The Gender Dysphoria Bible”: https://genderdysphoria.fyi/
“What Does All This Trans Stuff Mean?”: https://stainedglasswoman.substack.com/p/what-does-all-this-trans-stuff-mean
Jessica G Copeland is a political officer at US Embassy Athens, where she works on human rights issues, to include LGBTQIA+ rights. She joined the State Department in 2014 and has served in Ciudad Juárez, Zagreb, and the Operations Center (Ops). She is the parent and family coordinator for glifaa and is the founder of the facebook group FS Parents of LGBTQIA+ kids. She has served as a glifaa post rep in each of her overseas assignments.
Prior to her work at State, Jessica taught human development at Vanderbilt University and the University of Colorado. Her area of focus was child and adolescent development, including gender and social development.
Jessica and her husband Jason hail from Colorado and are mountain sport enthusiasts. They have two children: Jacob (11, he/him) and Luca (21, they/them). Luca graduated in May from Jessica’s alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, where they served as president of Berkeley’s first trans/gender fluid fraternity.
Catriona Bullock has served the United States in the Bureau of Global Public Affairs since 2018, where she uses her knowledge of cybersecurity principles to safeguard the message of the Department of State. She twice served Operation Allies Welcome, first helping process incoming Afghan refugees at Dulles Airport, then helping them find new homes at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.
Before coming to the Department, she served the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta where she defended, among others, systems containing health survey data on trans women in Thailand. As a transgender lesbian, she advocates for the acceptance of trans people in the workplace, spousal accreditation issues, and LGBTQIA+ medical needs. She is from Atlanta, holds a Master’s degree in IT Security and a Bachelor’s in International Relations, and studied in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Catriona’s first career was as a Land Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser restoration specialist, and in her spare time, she enjoys maintaining a vintage (1994) Land Cruiser, baking, and timidly clinging onto her girlfriend as she plays scary video games. She lives in Virginia with her girlfriend and their pet cat, Vivi.
Jordan Chesnut is a country officer at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Jordan joined the State Department in 2020 as a passport specialist before going to work in Children’s Issues, where he assisted in abductions cases. Currently, he works in American Citizen Services, African Division, where he covers Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau. In addition to his regional portfolio, Jordan also is part of the Consular Affairs DEIA working group and is the SME for repatriations and Health and Human Services assistance cases.
Jordan lives in NE DC, and when he’s not hiking, likes to spend the day painting or reading.
Robyn McCutcheon is the first American diplomat to transition gender while posted to a U.S. embassy overseas. During her years as a Foreign Service Officer, she served in numerous positions concerned largely with Russia, post-Soviet space, arms control, environmental issues, and human rights.
In 2013-14 Robyn served as president of glifaa, the officially recognized State Department employee affinity group representing LGBTQ+ employees. She was glifaa’s post representative in Bucharest in 2010-13 and in Astana in 2014-17. She maintains an occasional web journal Transgender In and Out of State where she writes about transgender issues from the perspective of a Foreign Service Officer, was part of the New York Times’ Transgender Today project, and has published on LGBTQ+ issues in the HuffPost. In 2017 Robyn was listed as one of the top 50 successful transgender Americans you should know. In 2017 she received a State Department Superior Honor Award for her “exceptional dedication and creativity in advancing LGBT rights in Kazakhstan.”
In 2013-14 and again in 2018-19, Robyn monitored nuclear arms control implementation in the Department’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) in Washington, DC. In 2014-17, Robyn served as Central Asia Regional Environment, Science, Technology, and Health (ESTH) Officer based at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. Her signature achievement in this position was the creation of a Central Asia and Afghanistan Women & Water Association. Robyn covered human rights issues in Romania in 2010-2013 and served as economic officer in Uzbekistan in 2008-10. She held the civilian nuclear energy portfolio in the Environment, Science, and Technology office in Russia in 2006-07, and she monitored Russia’s external relations in the Office of Russian Affairs in Washington, DC, in 2004-05. Prior to joining the State Department in 2004, Robyn worked for over 25 years as an engineer and programmer on NASA missions, primarily Hubble Space Telescope. She was responsible for the re-engineering of pointing control scheduling systems and the redesign of high gain antenna pointing algorithms on Hubble. She was also a leading specialist on the operational characteristics of Fixed Head Star Tracker sensors. The recipient of numerous NASA awards, she is a member of both the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Robyn has published frequently on subjects related to the history of Soviet science, in particular the 1936-37 purge of Soviet astronomers
Austin Richey-Allen joined the U.S. Department of State as a consular-coned Foreign Service Officer in 2011. He has served in consular assignments at the U.S. Embassies in Kathmandu and Manila, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. Austin received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked as an attorney in Minneapolis. As an openly trans diplomat, Austin has advocated for rights for transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse employees and family members in the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies. He lives with his wife Anna, and his fifth-grade daughter Tabitha, and a small troupe of animals.
Deborah Cahalen Schneider, the Managing Director of Operations in the Bureau of Administration, Deborah oversees seven offices which are larger than many domestic bureaus and have a base budget of about $500 million, as well as the use of approximately $1B in DoS resources for ongoing construction projects for over 150 locations nationwide, a Working Capital Fund for General Services, and a new Working Capital Fund for domestic Real Property that she stood up. She serves on the OMB-chaired interagency Federal Real Property Board and the Whole of Government Logistics Council, where DoS is leading the government with its fleet greening program.
Before assuming her current position, Dr. Schneider was the Director of the U.S. Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, overseeing U.S. compliance with the notification regimes associated with international conventional and nuclear arms control treaties and confidence-building agreements. Dr. Schneider was the Representative of the U.S. Departments of State and Energy on the staff of the President’s Daily Brief from 2012-2014. She has previously served in the State Department in INR, the Operations Center, as a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources, and coordinated interagency crisis task forces following the Benghazi attack, Wikileaks, and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
Dr. Schneider is a member of the Senior Executive Service has earned multiple Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor awards from the Department of State and a National Intelligence Award from the Director of National Intelligence. She spent a year as an Excellence in Government Fellow with the Partnership for Public Service and two years as a Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis.
Andrea Arredondo serves the Bureau of Global Public Affairs as a Producer for the Live Virtual Programs team. She harnesses her broadcasting and public affairs background to communicate the message of the State Department worldwide. She began working for the Department in 2021 and has been an avid volunteer for glifaa, where she uses her skills to represent the trans community in the workplace and beyond.
Before her work at State, Andrea worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs where she helped guide messaging from the Pentagon briefing room. She is a Navy veteran and served aboard the USS Russell (DDG 59) during the Global War on Terror. As a born and raised New Yorker and daughter of Latino immigrants, she advocates for the rights of immigrant communities, especially queer Latinos who often feel underrepresented. She sees her work as fundamental to changing the perception of the trans, Latino, and veteran communities and feels the best way to incite change is through leading from the front.
Andrea lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her girlfriend and their pet cat Vivi. She enjoys healthy cooking, dancing, playing scary video games, and keeping up to date with world events