Posts Tagged 'Pride'

Reflections On Pride This Year

As Pride season ends, some reflections come to mind – less on Pride celebrations per se than on this Administration’s approach to global LGBTI fairness and equality.

Our country’s values of fairness and equality mean that we should stand against inequalities and discrimination impacting LGBTI populations abroad.  And across President Obama’s two terms of office, our country’s commitment to global LGBT human rights became clear:

  • Human rights reports were revamped to include attention to atrocities and discrimination against LGBT and intersex people.
  • A Presidential Memorandum was crafted to set the national interest context and interagency framework for how the U.S. would approach LGBTI human rights abuse and inequality abroad.
  • Within this framework, the tools of U.S. foreign affairs agencies – police training, exchange programs, and efforts to strengthen equality-minded organizations overseas – were appropriately brought on line in a range of countries where LGBT populations have suffered hate crimes and abuse.
  • A new Special Envoy position was created, better to integrate the often-unique challenges impacting LGBTI populations into our human rights policies, and to work with other countries to address LGBTI inequalities and partner on corresponding opportunities.
  • The U.S. actively led in supporting LGBTI rights at the UN, and in encouraging respect for international norms with regard to LGBT and intersex people.
  • And at key moments, the U.S. President and Secretary of State spoke out against state-sanctioned homophobia – most notably with regard to Russia and Uganda.

Some of the tools referenced above remain in place.  Police sensitization on LGBTI population issues continues.  So do exchange programs, and other efforts to address the short shrift given to LGBT people in so many countries of the world.  A number of talented civil servants continue to give these issues their attention and ideas.

But the Trump Administration has cold-shouldered human rights as a guiding principle, and has no vision of a cohesive approach to LGBTI inequalities abroad.  It has dismembered the interagency coordination on global LGBT issues that began under Obama, providing political appointees with scant guidance as to how these issues should be folded into their programs.  The Administration has rescinded U.S. participation in the UN Human Rights Council, and no longer provides the same leadership in the UN’s core group on LGBTI issues – both vital fora for addressing LGBTI abuses and advancing fairness objectives.  It has left unfilled the Special Envoy position and gutted global women’s health programs that impact LGBT communities.  Increasingly it uses the principle of religious freedom to justify discrimination against our community, at home and abroad.  It has turned its back on refugees, including LGBT and intersex men and women fleeing the most vile and heart-wrenching repression of their very being.  And rather than embracing human rights, President Trump has chosen to embrace dictators that violate those rights – from Russia and Egypt, to Turkey and the Philippines.

If Trump had used his contacts with these dictators to insist on respect for human rights principles, we might have a different view of this strange and unprecedented embrace.  But there’s no reason to believe he has done so, and no evidence of any change either.  There’s also no reason to accept assertions that the U.S. voice and impact on human rights will be stronger, now that we’re outside the UN Human Rights Council, than it was when the U.S. debated in that body.

The only glimmer we’ve seen has been the President’s application of the Magnitsky Act sanctions to those most responsible for the carnage that Chechen authorities have inflicted against gay and lesbian citizens of that region.  But the buck on that carnage stops with Putin – and so far as we know, Trump has done nothing to press Russia’s president to stop these abuses.  Nor has he spoken critically – in public or, as far as anyone can tell us, in private – to atrocities carried out by the many other human rights abusers with whom he sadly has allied our country.

The human rights community has called “nonsense ” to any notion that this Administration is a defender of human rights.  So have a growing number of Congressional voices, in both houses, who have taken a stand that this country will not abandon its human rights mantle and heritage, nor its embrace of the principle that all men and women – including those in the LGBTI community – are created equal, and deserve equal protection under law, whether at home or abroad.

This is the heart and message of Pride.  It is what our country has stood for, and will stand for again.  We ask all who believe in America’s support for equality to join in insisting that those who represent us – and those who seek or claim the mantle of leadership – recommit to these values.  And we ask this Administration to do the same.

Ambassador Eisen Marches in Pride Parade

Photo: Raymond Johnston

Photo: Raymond Johnston

Repost from The Prague Post

U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen marched in the Prague Pride 2103 Parade, carrying the second banner after one held by the organizers. He participated in the first half hour of the march, dropping out about half way but two Prague embassy banners made it to the end, as did another one from the US Embassy in Berlin.

The Berlin banner carried sayings by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama in support of human rights and gay rights respectively. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the sign said next to a stylized picture of Obama.

“All men are created equal. The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” the banner said next to Kennedy’s likeness. Another embassy banner quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton equating human rights and gay rights.

In another show of support for gay rights, the Gloriette, a small but highly visible building in the US Embassy complex, is being lit at night in a rainbow of colors until Aug. 18, the end of the week-long Prague Pride Festival. “The Gloriette is a garden pavilion perched high on the hill behind the U.S. Embassy in Prague. It flies the American flag and is the most visible sign of the U.S. presence in the Czech Republic. During Communist rule the Gloriette provided a beacon of inspiration as a symbol of freedom and democracy,” the embassy said on its website.

“The Embassy of the United States of America in Prague is proud to participate in the annual Prague Pride Festival for the third consecutive year,” the statement continued, adding that it supported the festival through a grant program. Continue Reading

Secretary Kerry Video Remarks Celebrating LGBT Pride Month

Transcript of video remarks:

Hello! I wanted to take a moment to join people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month.

This month is about the assertion of equality and dignity. It is about the affirmation of fundamental freedoms and human rights. It is about people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Protecting universal human rights is at the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals. We are committed to advancing these rights not just in the month of June, but year-round.

As Secretary, I join with my colleagues at our embassies, consulates, and USAID missions around the world in saying, no matter where you are, and no matter who you love, we stand with you.

Across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – our diplomats are assisting local LGBT organizations and supporting local human rights advocates working to promote equality, create dialogue, and ensure protections for LGBT individuals.

Through the Global Equality Fund, the State Department has already provided critical emergency and long-term assistance to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over twenty-five countries. And our support will continue to grow, in cooperation with other equality-minded governments, foundations and corporations.

Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT people, both here in the United States and globally. Unfortunately, our work is not done. Recent events underscore that despite progress, we still have a long way to go. There are LGBT people of all ages, all races, and all faiths – citizens of every country on Earth. And in too many places, LGBT people and their supporters are being attacked and harassed for simply being who they are and for standing up for their rights.

The United States condemns all such violence, harassment, and discrimination. As President Obama said, “the struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” LGBT persons must be free to exercise their human rights – including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly and association – without fear of reprisal.

It is my honor to reaffirm the State Department’s commitment to promoting the human rights of LGBT persons, and indeed all human beings, worldwide.

To those celebrating Pride in the United States and around the world, I wish you all a Happy Pride month.

Secretary Hillary Clinton accepts the World LGBT Award from World Pride

Secretary Clinton Delivers a Video Message for Pride Month

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a video message for Pride Month. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/06/192136.htm.

Pride March Support Statement by Ambassador John F. Tefft

Amb. John Tefft, UkraineMarch 2012- As Ambassador of the United States of America in Kyiv, I would like to express my support and the support of my country to all those who will participate in the first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride March in Ukraine on May 20, 2012.  It saddens me to note that in many parts of the world, members of the LGBT community continue to suffer violence, discrimination, or persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  As Secretary of State Clinton states, “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” and by embracing diversity, promoting tolerance and fighting prejudice and discrimination, we strive to build a world where everyone can enjoy his or her fundamental human rights.

I would like to convey my appreciation to the organizers of the Kyiv Pride March, and I hope that many people, both gay and straight, will join us in this cause.  I wish everyone a successful and peaceful celebration.

Watch President Obama’s Remarks at White House LGBT Pride Celebration


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