Pride Is About U.S. Fundamental Values

Posted by Uzra Zeya
June 20, 2013
Pride Parade in Colombia

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to promote and protect the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals globally.  There are daily reports from around the world about violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, and even here at home people continue to be targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  These events remind us that our work transcends all national boundaries.

Though there is much work to be done, we have much to be proud of as well.   Former Secretary Clinton undertook a groundbreaking effort to integrate the human rights of LGBT people into U.S. foreign policy.  Under Secretary Kerry’s leadership, we will continue this work, and redouble our efforts.

In accordance with the President’s Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons, the State Department is hard at work to advance the human rights of LGBT people.  Last summer, nearly 90 U.S. missions celebrated Pride, with several embassies holding LGBT events for the first time.  Just last month, Moldova safely held its first LGBT march and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti organized events to promote tolerance. 

The State Department LGBT task force and my bureau, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, are working to advance these policies.  From desk officers to ambassadors, from my colleagues who work to protect refugees to those who design our education programs, this is truly a government-wide effort. 

I commend the Bureau of Consular Affairs for providing specific information on its travel website about countries where gays and lesbians can be arrested and prosecuted for consensual same sex conduct - a critical step to protect U.S. citizens traveling or living overseas.

We are committed to working with an ever-growing group of partners.  The Global Equality Fund has allocated resources to civil society organizations in over 25 countries to advance change on behalf of LGBT persons.  We are delighted to receive support from key allies like the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Norway, and philanthropic foundations such as the M·A·C AIDS Fund and the Arcus Foundation. 

I am proud to lead a bureau that is front and center in the global fight to advance the human rights of all people.  We will support LGBT activists and advocates around the world as they combat discrimination and stand up for their rights and freedoms.

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