In every country where she sets her pretty little foot, Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, makes crystal clear that her signature issue centers on three overlapping populations, not countries, not regions, global populations: Women, children, and specifically girls. Those pundits who claim that she has adopted no signature issue are simply not paying attention to her words as she delivers address after address around the world.
Hillary Clinton is nothing if not single-mindedly dedicated to supporting and uplifting the marginalized and the helpless the world over, and she reminds us often that doing so is often simple, cost-effective, impactful, and the right thing to do. (Of course she is more than that, much more, that was simply a turn of phrase up there.) Tomorrow, at a State Department event celebrating Gay Pride Month, indications are that she is about to add another marginalized population to the list of those she intends to campaign on behalf of on her journeys.
Here is the State Department announcement of the event, which I mentioned over the weekend here and promised to remind readers about.
Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah to Deliver Remarks at Event Celebrating LGBT Month on June 22Office of the SpokesmanWashington, DCJune 18, 2010
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah will deliver opening remarks on “LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy” at an event co-hosted by State’s Office of Civil Rights and GLIFFA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, on Tuesday, June 22 at 11:00 a.m., at the Department of State.
The event is part of LGBT Pride Month celebrations at the U.S. Department of State and USAID.
Following the opening remarks, Assistant Secretary for Populations, Refugees, and Migration Eric Schwartz will lead a panel discussion with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Daniel Baer, Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality, and Cary Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
The event will be open to credentialed members of the media and can be watched live on www.state.gov.
Now those who have been following her tenure as Secretary of State, know very well that almost upon entry to the building last year, she met with GLIFFA members who asked for benefits for their domestic partners. They will also remember that last year, at the outset of Gay Pride Month, she announced that the research on that request was complete, the request was deemed reasonable and doable and was granted. This year, she streamlined the process for transgendered people to change their passports to reflect their new designation. But more is coming. We will probably hear it from her tomorrow. This will be a very important speech because it will alter U.S. foreign policy in a way that will leave her mark forever.
It will not be a treaty or anything that will require Congressional ratification. It will be a simple expansion of Hillary Clinton’s agenda to include human rights for LGBT people all over the world – not just at the State Department, embassies, and consulates, not just Americans, all LGBT people across the globe. That is huge.
In Beijing in 1996, she famously said that women’s rights were human rights and vice versa. I expect a similar declaration tomorrow which will imply a new demand that we will make on countries that do not grant full human rights to gays. It will add a new population to the list for whom she speaks out. It will alter her signature issue, now to become: Women, children, girls, and gays.
I realize I am sticking my neck out with this prediction, and I have been known to be wrong (not often), but I feel safe in making it because she’s Hillary Clinton, and this is the kind of thing she does.