Posts Tagged 'Hilary Clinton'



Heartfelt Praise to a National Leader

secclintonThere’ve been many encomia to Hillary Clinton over the last week, all richly deserved.  To these we add our own deep measure of heartfelt praise to a national leader whose energy and commitment in integrating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people into U.S. foreign policy has shown a clear-eyed understanding that, as she said in her landmark December 2012 speech at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, “gay rights are human rights.”

Secretary Clinton’s four-year legacy in integrating LGBT rights into our country’s international human rights policy goes far beyond even the expectations framed by a rapidly changing recognition in this country that the equality of LGBT people is a moral imperative.  Under Clinton’s direction:

  • Annual human rights reports now include LGBT-specific sections, and a new “toolkit” is helping our embassy personnel address LGBT human rights issues in foreign countries and cultures;
  • Regional bureaus, particularly WHA and AF, have integrated LGBT equality goals into their work programs;
  • The Department’s public diplomacy tools – including speakers, international visitors, and other exchanges – are being used to increase international acceptance and understanding of LGBT people;
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs has revised passport and reports of birth abroad forms to accommodate same-sex couples and parents, and has simplified the ability to change gender markers for passport issuance;
  • The Department has shown leadership in addressing LGBT human rights issues in the Human Rights Council, and at the United Nations in New York;
  • The Department’s Democracy Fund is being used to support LGBT civil society needs, and a new Global Equality Fund will expand that support in exciting new directions, in support of U.S. democratic and foreign assistance goals; and
  • The families of gay and lesbian Foreign Service personnel now enjoy the same benefits as those enjoyed by their straight counterparts.

These and other smaller, less-visible steps reflect Secretary Clinton’s clear-eyed appreciation that we, as a country, honor our founding principles of equality, fair play, and freedom only when those principles are applied universally to all minorities, all people.  The clarity and consistency of her call for other countries to respect the rights of LGBT people has lent new integrity to our human rights policy.  Equally, it has restored the credibility of government to many of us who have long waited for the leadership that Secretary Clinton has so admirably shown.

The Council has enjoyed a close partnership with many State Department political appointees whose immediate time in government service is over.  We look forward to working with them, and indeed with Secretary Clinton as well, in other capacities in the future.  However, Secretary Clinton’s strongest legacy is the Department she leaves behind:  one where career professionals understand that international LGBT rights are firmly included in what we as a country must advocate, and where those professionals feel it is politically safe to stand proudly for the inclusive values on which our country was founded.

For that as much as any of the specific accomplishments cited above, we say thank you to Secretary Clinton.  The world is a better place because of her tiresome advocacy of fairness and equality.  So, indeed, is our country.

Reception Honoring the Department of State’s Public/Private Partnerships

Michel-Togue

Michel Togue, Cameroon

Today the U.S. State Department hosted a reception highlighting the the Department’s public/ priviate partnerships. Secretary Clinton spoke to a range of partnerships that the State Department has implemented with the goal of spurring more collaboration among government, civil society, the private sector, universities, religious institutions, and other groups. The creation in 2011 of the Global Equality Fund is one of those important partnerships. The fund was created, as noted on the State Department’s website, to support programs that “advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world. The Fund is a collaborative effort at the State Department, bridging multiple offices with the objective of empowering LGBT persons to live freely and without discrimination.”

In today’s speech Secretary Clinton welcomed three new governmental partnerships to the fund and highlighted one example of the work the fund has supported. She noted, “We’re also expanding on some of our successful partnerships. In 2011, I launched the Global Equality Fund to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons around the world. And I want to welcome the Governments of Norway, the Netherlands, and France to this partnership. And I thank the Arcus Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund for their recent contributions. Also with us is Michel Togue, a human rights lawyer from Cameroon who has fought tirelessly to defend LGBT persons with support from this fund, and we greatly applaud his commitment and his courage.”

You can learn more about the fund and its program areas here

You can watch the full video from today’s event here.

Human Rights Day Message from Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Click for Related Information on Human Rights Day:

Visit the My Voice Counts page of the United Nations

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Human Rights Day

Celebrating Human Rights Day- U.S. Department of State

Press Statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) at 20

David Buss, GLIFAA 20 Year Anniversary

David Buss, GLIFAA’s founding president

A State Department event on Wednesday captured the remarkable changes in how LGBT citizens are winning acceptance and fair treatment in our country – and how American diplomatic muscle is persuading other countries to follow that same path.

On Wednesday, the State Department celebrated the 20th anniversary of GLIFAA, an organization representing the interests of LGBT employees of foreign affairs agencies.  As late as the 1970’s, being gay was considered a security risk – reason enough to stop a career.  Even after that practice ended and GLIFAA was formed, the life of gay diplomats was hardly “gay.”  Gay and lesbian employees sometimes found themselves in less desirable jobs; their day-to-day behavior often drew heightened scrutiny; often they found an uncomfortable fit at starched and formal diplomatic events, including American ones; their family members received none of the benefits that straight families enjoyed.

These issues are part of GLIFAA’s history of course:  more to the point, they are history, full stop.   At Wednesday’s event, speakers traced the arc of that history in human terms.  David Buss, GLIFAA’s founding president, spoke of the loneliness he felt as an out-gay employee in the 80s – how indeed he had been forced to come out to his family, in order to keep his job.  Secretary Clinton asked Tom Gallagher, the Department’s first out-gay employee, to stand:  he was the Department’s earliest gay pioneer, having the courage to live his life openly in those difficult 1970’s.  She asked the same of the Council’s own Michael Guest, our country’s first out-gay, Senate-confirmed ambassador, who left his career over the Department’s unequal treatment of gay families and then worked in the Obama Administration’s Transition Team to chart a path to their resolution.

Time-wise, their stories are bookends to a story of remarkable change at the Department – change that should be credited, in full, to the personal leadership of the Secretary and her Counselor, Cheryl Mills.  But the visuals of GLIFAA’s celebration were equally striking, and equally telling.  Merely holding the event in the marble-columned Benjamin Franklin Room – State’s top-floor formal reception room, where vice presidential diplomatic dinners are held and new ambassadors traditionally are sworn in – crystallized just how far GLIFAA has come.   So, of course, did the unprecedented presence of a sitting Secretary of State, surrounded by a bevy of political appointees from a cross-section of foreign affairs agencies and the Office of Personnel Management. Continue reading ‘Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) at 20′

Remarks at the 20th Anniversary of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA)

Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, GLIFAARemarks: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
November 28, 2012

Click here to watch a video of the event.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all, very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughter.) Thank you, all. Thank you.

Yeah, that’s good. (Laughter.) Wow. Well, welcome to the Ben Franklin Room. (Laughter.) And congratulations on your 20th anniversary. I am so pleased to be here and to have this chance to join this celebration. Ken, thank you for your kind words and your efforts here to make this day possible. I am extremely pleased that Cheryl Mills, my friend as well as Chief of Staff and Counselor is here, so that those of you who may not have met her or even seen her, given how shy and retiring she is – (laughter) – can express your appreciation to her for her tireless efforts.

I’m delighted that Deputy Secretary Tom Nides is here. Tom, who some of you know, who you’ve had a chance to work with him, has been just an extraordinary deputy. Also let me recognize USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg. He’s been an unyielding advocate for the LGBT community at USAID. We also have a number of ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission, both past and present, some of whom have literally traveled from the other side of the world to be here. David, I’m talking about you. And we have Michael Guest with us, our country’s first out ambassador to be confirmed by the Senate and someone who’s remained an outspoken champion for LGBT rights, despite having to endure countless attacks and threats. Michael, why don’t you stand up so that you can be recognized? (Applause.) Continue reading ‘Remarks at the 20th Anniversary of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA)’

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in Europe

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in EuropeRepost from DipNote Blog by Frankie Sturm, Deputy Cultural Attache at U.S. Embassy Warsaw in Poland.

Sitting down to dinner to wrap up two jam-packed days of outreach by Judy and Dennis Shepard in Poland to parents of LGBT individuals, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, TV reporters, and others, I was struck by how universally their story resonates even thousands of miles from the United States.

As co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to expand LGBT rights and protections through the legal system, while changing hearts and minds by telling the tragic story of their son’s murder due to hate and intolerance.

The State Department is proud to be sponsoring the Shepards on a five-country, two week-plus European outreach trip. The Shepards’ tour includes stops in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, and Germany. Continue Reading

 

Secretary Hillary Clinton accepts the World LGBT Award from World Pride


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