Posts Tagged 'The Advocate'

Out of Harm’s Way

Repost from The Advocate

NEARLY SIX MONTHS AGO, the White House unveiled a global blueprint for promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT individuals, countless numbers of whom live in countries where they are imprisoned, blackmailed, and in places like Iraq, sometimes crushed to death with cement blocks.

The State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Report, released last week, provides a grim, if incomplete, catalog of such atrocities. A gay and transgender resource center in Cape Town, South Africa, documented about 10 cases per week of lesbians targeted with brutal sexual assault, often referred to as “corrective rape.” Violence and extortion at the hands of police officers is pervasive in El Salvador, Turkey, Indonesia, and Cote d’Ivoire. National leaders denounce homosexuality as “the divorce of humanity from its integrity” (Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) and “strange behavior that even God will not tolerate” (Gambian president Yahya Jammeh). And for country after country, the sentence “There were no known LGBT organizations” appears throughout the report like a rasping chorus. Continue Reading

Related Post: Widespread Pattern of Abuses Against LGBT People Worldwide

Obama Addresses Global Gay Rights in UN Speech

Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, issued the following statement to The Advocate Wednesday on the president’s address:

“The President’s remarks today at the UN General Assembly, where he called for the world to ‘stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,’ were historic. Never before has a sitting U.S. President spoken so clearly about LGBT rights in a formal address to the full General Assembly. It shows how far we have come.”

“In his last months in office, President Bush refused to join a UN statement calling on countries to decriminalize homosexual relations and relationships. Today, President Obama stood before that same institution and pledged U.S. support for LGBT rights globally. This is the next frontier of the human rights struggle at the UN, and the arc of justice is clearly bending toward equality.”

Read the full article published by The Advocate here

Related Global Equality Today posting: President Obama calls on the countries of the world to stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians

Leadership Matters

by Mark Bromley, Council Chair, The Council for Global Equality

Mark Bromley, The Council for Global Equality

Richard Grenell posted an online piece for the Advocate on February 19 in response to Kerry Eleveld’s profile article on Secretary Clinton’s LGBT advances at the State Department.  While I am not a big fan of tit-for-tat responses, Grenell goes out of his way to suggest that I lied about an important conversation at the State Department.  Such an unsubstantiated attack on my credibility is hard to let pass.

Richard Grenell argues on the Advocate website (read the article here) that Secretary Condi Rice was a champion of LGBT rights under the Bush administration, and that Secretary Clinton has merely built on that lead. He also claims that I fabricated a conversation with a senior-State Department official to discount the good work of the State Department under Secretary Rice. I certainly hope that quiet diplomacy was deployed under the leadership of Secretary Rice to support the fundamental rights of vulnerable LGBT communities worldwide, including those who are too often subjected to hate crimes, sexual assault, police harassment, extortion and arrest in the nearly 80 countries that still criminalize our relations and relationships. But the conversation that Grenell claims I fabricated suggests a different story.

Grenell says that: “Mark Bromley is a Democrat who worked for liberal senator Russ Feingold. His characterization of his conversation with an unnamed Bush administration official three years ago is presented without evidence because it isn’t true.” First of all, it’s insulting in the extreme to suggest that my political affiliations would make me more prone to lie. But let’s put that aside. The conversation was real, and the policy that it reflected was even more so.

I did in fact name the official for the story. It was then-Assistant Secretary for Human Rights David Kramer, who is identified in the article as “the State Department’s assistant secretary for human rights under President Bush in 2008.” Surely Grenell knows that Kramer was in that senior leadership position at the State Department at that time? In any case, the conversation I refer to was one in which I asked if the State Department could speak more forcefully against laws that criminalize homosexuality, instead of merely reporting on the laws and the harms they give license to in the State Department’s annual human rights report. Kramer explained in very respectful terms that it is difficult for the State Department to condemn popular laws that are democratically enacted by other sovereign nations. I took that to mean that the State Department would not speak out forcefully against such laws, and indeed, I never heard of them doing so under Secretary Rice’s tenure. I certainly hope they did, but given the final assault on LGBT rights by the Bush administration at the UN in December 2008, that seems difficult to imagine. Continue reading ‘Leadership Matters’

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