Shay had few expectations when she began her Peace Corps service in Ecuador but, as a lesbian, she did expect that she wouldn’t be able to be open about her sexual orientation. In actuality, she met her future wife and now helps create a healthy and safe environment for other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer volunteers.
The 27-year-old Cape Girardeau, Mo., native and graduate of Southeast Missouri State University joined the Peace Corps for the opportunity to promote peace and friendship while sharing technical skills and cultures. Shay arrived in Ecuador in May 2014 and serves as a health extension volunteer. She is also the president of SpeQtrum, a support group for Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador who identify as LGBTQ or ally.
“Being a Peace Corps volunteer presents challenges from so many angles,” Shay said. “Personally, my identifying as a lesbian has been one of the smallest challenges during service, but I do feel that my in-country staff is particularly attentive to the needs of LGBTQ volunteers.” Continue reading “Serving as a LGBTQ Peace Corps volunteer”