Posts Tagged 'Mark Bromley'



LGBT Groups Applaud Naming of Ambassador Susan Rice and Samantha Power to New Posts

Susan Rice and Samantha PowerJune 5, 2013 – The Council for Global Equality and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) applaud President Obama’s decision to name Ambassador Susan Rice, who currently serves as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as his new national security adviser and to nominate Samantha Power, a longtime friend of the human rights community, to take her place as the next U.S. Ambassador to the UN.

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, said: “We were pleased to honor Ambassador Rice with our Global Equality Award last year in recognition of her leadership and stalwart support for LGBT rights at the United Nations.  And the announcement today was certainly a double hit, as Samantha Power, who was nominated to take her place and serve as our next UN Ambassador, has been a great friend of LGBT rights – and of human rights for all – at the White House.  We couldn’t think of two stronger LGBT allies in the foreign policy world.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of IGLHRC, said, “Samantha Power has a proven track-record of support for US policies that affirm LGBT rights around the world, including by championing the first-ever strategic approach to LGBT rights in US foreign policy with the 2011 Presidential Memorandum.”[1]  Likewise, Stern noted, “Ambassador Rice has transformed the US’s engagement with LGBT rights at the UN, not only by fighting for IGLHRC to receive official UN accreditation but by fighting for every LGBT organization to receive the same opportunity.  Furthermore, her commitment to the issue resulted in the landmark decision of the UN General Assembly to condemn extrajudicial or arbitrary killings based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

In accepting the Global Equality award last year, Ambassador Rice noted that, “I am truly honored to receive this recognition, because LGBT rights has been one of my personal passions throughout my tenure at the United Nations and long before.”  She emphasized, “LGBT individuals around the world have sacrificed so much – including in some cases their lives – to seek and obtain their basic human rights.”

With the strong leadership of Ambassador Rice and Samantha Power over the past four years, the United States has finally joined governments from around the world in condemning violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and helping to institutionalize these long-neglected rights on the UN agenda.  The Council for Global Equality and IGLHRC look forward to working with Ambassador Rice and Samantha Power in their new positions as we continue to engage with the Obama Administration to advance global equality.

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)’

2012 Global Equality Leadership Award Event Photos

We would like to thank everyone who attended the award ceremony and reception for Ambassador Susan E. Rice, especially our gracious hosts. For those of you who were not able make it, you can view some photos from the event.

Ambassador Rice’s remarks, at the event, were not only moving, they were humorous, determined, and and most of all genuine. So glad that the LGBT community has an ally with her principles and drive. Stay tuned for a short video of the award ceremony.

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All photos by Noah Devereaux

Click to read related content. 

The Council for Global Equality honors Ambassador Susan E. Rice with the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award

Ambassador Susan E. Rice accepting The Global Equality Leadership Award

Photo: Noah Devereaux

October 10, 2012 – The Council for Global Equality honored Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with its 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award at a reception this evening at the home of Mitch Draizin and Fritz Brugere-Trelat.  The award recognizes U.S. leadership in support of LGBT equality in the United States and abroad.  Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was the last award recipient.

Former U.S. Ambassador Michael Guest, a former State Department colleague of Rice and currently a Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality, presented the award to her.  In his remarks, he noted the leadership qualities he had seen in Ambassador Rice across her many years of public service and described how those qualities had empowered the UN’s growing recognition that LGBT rights are human rights.

In accepting the award, Rice noted that “I am truly honored to receive this recognition, because LGBT rights has been one of my personal passions throughout my tenure at the United Nations and long before.”  She explained that the struggle is personal, noting “the fight for equal rights is fundamental.  It defines who I am, how I was raised, where I come from, and where I am determined to go. . . . That principle is what made us a nation and its implementation, progressively but still not sufficiently, is at the core of our work to perfect our nation.”  She emphasized that “LGBT individuals around the world have sacrificed so much – including in some cases their lives – to seek and obtain their basic human rights.”

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, noted that “in December 2008, just before Ambassador Rice took her seat at the UN, the United States refused to join a basic UN statement affirming that LGBT rights are human rights, leaving us alone among all of our close allies in our regional Western voting bloc at the UN to reject that fundamental premise.  Since then, thanks to Ambassador Rice’s personal commitment and leadership, the United States has emerged as one of the strongest international advocates for LGBT rights at the UN and beyond.”

Julie Dorf, also Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality and the founder of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which advocates for LGBT rights globally, noted Rice’s leadership in securing UN recognition for IGLHRC, the first such UN recognition for an LGBT group from the United States.  That status allows IGLHRC to speak in support of LGBT rights at UN human rights fora.  IGLHRC’s current Executive Director, Jessica Stern, also thanked Ambassador Rice for her leadership and noted the role that organizations like hers are playing in partnering with supportive governments to advance LGBT equality for all.

Under the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice, the United States has finally joined our closest allies in the UN in condemning violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And by directing the full force of U.S. diplomacy to such long-neglected human rights concerns, Rice helped put LGBT rights firmly on the UN agenda with an unprecedented new appeal to all countries in all regions.  In accepting the award, Rice said that the struggles in support of LGBT equality at the United Nations are some of her “proudest moments at the UN,” recognizing that “together, we’ve made a bit of history. The UN is far different today than it was four years ago.”  The Council for Global Equality is proud to be a partner in such history and proud to recognize the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice.

Latin American LGBT activists visit the U.S. on State Department-sponsored trip

Latin American LGBT activists visit the U.S. on State Department-sponsored trip

Laura Bronzino of Argentina and Jaime Parada in Chile in D.C. (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Repost from the Washington Blade

Nine Latin American activists continue to tour the United States on a State Department-organized trip that is part of its ongoing efforts to promote human rights for LGBT people around the world.

Jaime Parada of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile; Laura Bronzino, president of the Misiones LGBT Association in Argentina; Henry Peralta, general director of the LGBT Equality Foundation in Bolivia; Marcela Sánchez, executive director of Colombia Diversa; Brazilian Congressman Jean de Matos; Francisco Madrigal of the Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America in Costa Rica; Efraín Soria, president of the Equity Foundation in Ecuador; José Lopéz, vice president of Comunidad Cultural de Tijuana LGBTI in México and Panamanian activist Augustín Rodríguez  began their trip in D.C. on Sept. 4. They met with Human Rights Campaign staffers, former HRC President Elizabeth Birch, Council for Global Equality President Mark Bromley, transgender activist Dr. Dana Beyer and gay Maryland state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City,) representatives from the Justice Department, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other federal agencies, human rights groups and non-governmental organizations while in the nation’s capital. The group also discussed the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers at the Pentagon. Continue Reading

Advocacy at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC

Global Activists  Meet at the White House. International AIDS ConferenceDuring the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington this summer, the Council organized a series of meetings for 60 LGBT leaders from around the world to introduce them to U.S. government officials representing U.S. foreign affairs agencies.  LGBT leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean held in-depth roundtable discussions with regional bureaus at the State Department and with the White House.  The meetings provided an opportunity for frontline activists to explain how they have experienced the recent change in U.S. foreign policy, whereby President Obama has directed “all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”

There was widespread appreciation for the new collaboration that LGBT advocates are receiving from U.S. embassies around the world.  In that sense, many activists described the meetings as having an historic quality to them.  The participants shared stories about U.S. embassy personnel reaching out to LGBT advocates, and they offered a number of positive comments on specific aspects of U.S. programming abroad.  At the same time, the Council recorded feedback on how our government can continue to improve its efforts to support local LGBT organizations in hostile environments internationally, including the following points:

  • U.S. embassy posts should engage LGBT organizations in an annual human rights dialogue across the year.  In parallel, posts should catalogue the priority needs of these organizations, with a view to discerning the relevance of State, USAID and other foreign affairs agency programming.
  • The Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department should underscore to its overseas PEPFAR administrators that, as a matter of national policy integrity, programming for men who have sex with men (MSM) should be included in each country plan, regardless of whether host countries suggest this as a priority.
  • All U.S. foreign affairs agencies should integrate LGBT human and civil rights issues into training provided to U.S. and overseas employees.  Training should include both general policy information and its specific applicability to the overseas programs of individual agencies.
  • U.S. foreign affairs agencies should include binding contractual references to federal executive agency policies on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Only binding language can provide the leverage to ensure that program contractors do not undercut broader U.S. policy objectives through inappropriate projection of their personal biases.
  • The framing of our public diplomacy efforts is critical to their success.  Posts should engage local LGBT groups on the usefulness of public messaging on LGBT issues; what the content of that messaging might be; local or regional voices that might feature in any such messaging; and how this messaging might be integrated into broader democracy and civil society programming goals.
  • Further thought should be given to how LGBT individuals might be included in exchange programs related to democracy, civil society, and the rule of law.  LGBT inclusion in these programs should mirror in-country inclusion of LGBT people in post programs.
  • There is a clear need for greater engagement on rule of law issues impacting LGBT individuals abroad, including police training and post engagement with host governments on legal reform.  The recently passed U.S. hate crimes law could be a helpful fulcrum for this engagement.
  • Embassy posts should consider faith-focused programming, with the goal of encouraging dialogue between LGBT people and local faith leaders.  This engagement may be key to a long-term reduction of legislative and other discriminatory policies toward LGBT people.
  • Embassies should also consider increasing their small grant support for LGBT civil society groups, across all geographic regions.  These small grants, targeted toward needs identified by the groups themselves, can be lifelines for small and otherwise resource-stretched organizations.

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