June 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm PST | by Troy Masters
Queery: Katie Hultquist

Katie Hultquist. (Photo courtesy Hultquist)

Katie Hultquist is a woman on a mission who is particularly well suited for a moment in history when women’s issues, LGBT issues and immigration have intersected with religion to take center stage.

Currently, she’s the west coast director for OutRight Action International, a U.S-based non-profit that fights for the human rights and well being of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, intersex people and transgender people around the world.

With more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and social justice activism for local, national and international organizations, Katie is insightful, driven and passionate about her work.

Previously, Katie served as the northwest regional director at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos USA, where she raised more than $11 million to support vulnerable children in Latin America and the Caribbean, and helped launch a training institute for young leaders from Central America, making her particularly well informed about the key issues of the moment.

“Too many LGBTQI people still face tragic and dangerous conditions worldwide. Same-sex relations are criminalized in 72 countries — with more than three billion people living in nations where being gay can result in arrest, incarceration and even the death penalty. 2017 was the worst year in memory for queer people globally. Hundreds of people were shamed, detained, tortured and killed in Chechnya, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Tanzania and beyond. It is clear that demanding human rights is not a priority for the Trump administration,” she said.

As Donald Trump takes aim at the rights of women and LGBT people, putting religious extremism and ideologies ahead of human rights and individual liberties, her career makes her uniquely poised to lead.

“The work that Katie and OutRight is doing has a direct and lifesaving impact on activists that are fighting for survival around the world,” said John Erickson, newly appointed Plan Parent spokesperson, popular Feminist and OutRight supporter.

Even prior to her time with OutRight Katie was busy raising people up. She was Executive Director of Passages Northwest, a nonprofit dedicated to building courage and leadership in girls and women through the outdoors and the arts.

Her work at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Ashoka/Youth Venture, Harvey Gantt’s 1996 U.S. Senate Campaign in North Carolina, Northwest Girls Coalition, the Women’s Funding Alliance, Seattle University and her work in the the Washington state marriage equality campaign in 2012, and fundraising efforts are great examples of her leadership.

Katie holds a masters degree in nonprofit leadership from Seattle University and a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.

Katie is originally from San Francisco, and now lives in Seattle with her wife and three children.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

I came out in 1995, and since then I’ve pretty much always been out. It was hard to tell my parents, because they were worried and disappointed at first. Now, they are 100 percent supportive of me and my family.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

My current LGBT heroes are Emma González and Sarah Chadwick, the Parkland students who are openly queer and turning their personal tragedy into a movement to end gun violence. I love their passion, vision and courage.

What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?

Like any good sporty lesbian, a night out at a WNBA basketball game.

Describe your dream wedding.

I married my wife Laura three times (two legal marriage ceremonies, and one commitment ceremony/wedding). They were all perfect in their own way, but the first stands out as particularly special was in February of 2004, when we drove to San Francisco, my hometown, to get married. Even though it was later annulled, I will never forget driving all night to get there, waiting in line with hundreds of other couples, exchanging vows in City Hall, and the love and support of our family who attended.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

It’s impossible to pick one.  My top three are women’s rights, immigrant rights and environmental protection. I’ve always been a feminist, and I believe we must stand up for our neighbors and our planet which are both under attack.

What historical outcome would you change?

The 2017 presidential election. We will stand up, resist, and survive this – together.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

I was 22 in 1997 when Ellen DeGeneres came out on network TV, and I will never forget how revolutionary that felt in terms of LGBTQ visibility and acceptance.

On what do you insist?

Honesty, integrity and humility.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

It has been uplifting to celebrate Pride with this FB message: “I am keenly aware that 3 billion people around the world live in places where being gay is illegal, and that many literally risk their lives when they march or even stand near a rainbow flag. This year I march in honor of my fierce friends and activists around the world and I march to demand human rights for all people, everywhere. Happy Pride, everyone!”

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (aka Katie the LGBT Rights Crusader).

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

Nothing.  I love who I am. I love my wife and I love the lesbian (and wider LGBTQI) community!

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

I believe nature connects us to each other and to our own spirit in a deep and meaningful way.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

1) include and uplift the voices of the most marginalized in our community, 2) think intersectional and work in solidarity with other movement leaders, 3) stay committed, focused, and hopeful. We are experiencing a backlash in part because we are making progress and moving forward.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My three children.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

We find that sometimes conservative and anti-gay leaders around the world will assert that they do not have a LGBT population and that “gay rights” is a Western agenda.  But OutRight Action International has introduced me to LGBTQI activists all over the world and they are bravely speaking out and organizing in every region of the world.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Go Fish” because it was released just as I was coming out. My favorite is probably “Ma Vie En Rose.”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

(Straight) women taking their husband’s last name.

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

In another life, I was starting in a musical on Broadway.  So if I could get any award it would probably be a Tony!

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That being gay would open up possibilities in my life.

Why Los Angeles?

Angelenos understand there is more to life than work and they know how to work, relax and play, which I very much appreciate!

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