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Remarks at an Event Co-Hosted by the Department of State and Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) in celebration of LGBT Pride Month


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
June 27, 2011




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Remarks at GLIFAA Event, posted with vodpod

(Applause.) Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

Well, this is an especially momentous and extraordinary time for us to meet for the State Department’s annual Pride celebration, the third event we’ve had here at State since I became Secretary, and the first following the historic vote in New York, which I think gives such visibility and credibility to everything that so many of you have done over so many years, because I look out at this audience and I see a lot of familiar faces of people who have been on the frontlines for many years and have worked so diligently and smartly for the progress that we are seeing.

I do want to recognize, in addition to John, Patrick, and Arturo, who have already been mentioned, Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Posner and USAID Deputy Director Steinberg and Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer and all who have led our efforts, including Counselor Mills, to protect the rights and well-being of LGBT people worldwide. And I thank Jon Tollefson and GLIFAA for being an invaluable partner in coordinating personnel and policy matters here at State. I’m very honored to receive this award. It really belongs to all of you and so many others in recognition of the work that we’ve had the opportunity to do together to advance equality around the world.

It is an inspiration, however, to keep working, because we have a long way to go toward a world that affords all people the respect, dignity, and equality that they are entitled to. So in that vein, I wanted to share just a few stories from the past year that I hope will keep us going because they are stories of perseverance and creativity by our Foreign Service officers and civil servants who are representing the United States.

In Honduras, as many of you know, anti-gay violence increased significantly in 2009 and 2010. More than 30 LGBT people were murdered and the investigations into those crimes appeared to be going nowhere. Then our Embassy team got involved. They publicly called on the Honduran Government to solve the murders, bring the perpetrators to justice, do more to protect all Hondurans from harm. Soon after, the government announced it was creating a taskforce to investigate and prevent hate crimes. And with the help of a United States prosecutor and detective, which our Embassy arranged to be made available to assist in this effort, we are making progress. And I particularly want to thank and recognize Assistant Secretary Valenzuela, because it was his leadership on this issue that really made a difference.

In Slovakia, the country’s first-ever Pride parade last year ended in violence. So this year, our Embassy staff worked overtime to help make the parade a success. They brought together more than 20 chiefs of mission from other nations to sign a public statement of support for the march. They hosted a respectful, productive debate on LGBT rights. And on the day of the parade, our ambassador marched in solidarity right next to the mayor of Bratislava.

And then there is the work that our Embassy team in Rome has been doing. Two weeks ago, they played an instrumental role in bringing Lady Gaga to Italy for a EuroPride concert. (Laughter.) Now, as many of you know, Lady Gaga is Italian American and a strong supporter of LGBT rights. And the organizers of the EuroPride event desperately wanted her to perform, and a letter to her from Ambassador Thorne was instrumental in sealing the deal. Over 1 million people attended the event, which included powerful words in support of equality and justice.

And then there is the tremendous work that our diplomats have been doing in regional and international institutions to strengthen a shared consensus about how governments should treat their citizens. And we’ve made the message very consistent and of a high priority. All people’s rights and dignity must be protected whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In March, President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff announced their shared support for the creation of a special rapporteur for LGBT rights within the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. And we have our Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs and our permanent mission to the OAS to thank for that.

Also in March, the United States led a major effort at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to get other countries to sign on in support of a statement on ending violence and criminalization based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In the end, 85 countries signed the statement, 18 more than ever had signed onto any previous UN statement on LGBT rights.

And in the very next session of the Human Rights Council, just two weeks ago after another major push by American diplomats in Geneva as well as our teams from IO, DRL, EUR, WHA, and other bureaus, the Council passed the first ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of LGBT people worldwide. And it was especially meaningful that we had South Africa cosponsoring that resolution with us. And with that we took a huge step forward in our work to refute the hateful suggestion that LGBT people are somehow exempt from human rights protections, and we made it absolutely clear that, so far as the United States is concerned and our foreign policy, and our values – that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.

Now, it is not just momentous achievements like the Human Rights Council resolution that contribute to progress; it is the day-to-day work of our embassies and AID missions around the world to increase engagement around the issues affecting LGBT rights, especially in those places where people are at risk of violence, discrimination, or criminalization. That’s a concern that Johnnie Carson, our assistant secretary for African Affairs, who is currently on travel to Africa, raises regularly with his African leader counterparts; the op-ed that our ambassador to Barbados wrote in support of LGBT rights; the work that our Eric Schwartz, our assistant secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration is doing to lead the training of humanitarian workers to better protect and assist LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; the discussions that undersecretary Maria Otero led about the human rights of LGBT people in our first Global Issues Dialogue with Norway.

And so I want to applaud all of our diplomats and our development experts who continue to reach out to those advocating around the world in Uganda, Malawi, Russia, Turkey, China, and so many other places. Our colleagues are meeting with human rights activists, health authorities, youth activists, sex workers, the full range of people who are involved in and working to protect LGBT people’s rights and lives. This is people-to-people diplomacy at its best.

Now, all this progress is worth celebrating, but we cannot forget how much work lies ahead. Because let’s just face the facts: LGBT people in many places continue to endure threats, harassment, violence – including sexual violence – in public and private. They continue to flee their homes and nations and seek asylum because they are persecuted for being who they are. They continue to be targeted for trying to build public support through pride activities such as parades. And what we have long thought is becoming the case, and that is if we can convince people to speak out about their own personal experiences, particularly within their own families, it does begin to change the dialogue.

If you followed closely, which I’m sure all of you did, the debate in New York, one of the key votes that was switched at the end was a Republican senator from the Buffalo area who became convinced that it was just not any longer fair for him to see one group of his constituents as different from another. Senators stood up and talked about nieces and nephews and grandchildren and others who are very dear to them, and they don’t want them being objectified or discriminated against. And from their own personal connections and relationships, they began to make the larger connection with somebody else’s niece or nephew of grandchild and what that family must feel like.

So we have to continue to stand up for the rights and the well-being of LGBT people, and sometimes it’s hard when you’re in the middle of a long campaign to see where you’re getting. But I’ve always believed that we would make progress because we were on the right side of equality and justice. Life is getting better for people in many places, and it will continue to get better thanks to our work. So I ask all of you to look for ways to support those who are on the front lines of this movement, who are defending themselves and the people they care about with great courage and resilience. This is one of the most urgent and important human rights struggles of all times. It is not easy, but it is so rewarding.

Pride month is a time for gratitude, for joy, and of course, for pride – pride in ourselves, in our families and friends, in our colleagues, in our community. And at the State Department, there are so many reasons for pride, and the same is true for all of our foreign affairs agencies represented here, from AID to the Peace Corps and others, because we do have so many talented people, and we have so many who are LGBT serving our nation with honor, courage, and skill. And shortly, our military partners will be able to say the same.

So think of the amazing work that has been done in the last year or two, because it truly is a great tribute to those who have fought for these rights, for those who have sacrificed for them, and mostly for our country, because it is our country and our values that truly are being put at the forefront.

And so I say to all of you, thank you. You make our country proud and you make me proud as the Secretary of State to work with you and serve with you every day. But please don’t forget that for every proud moment we can share together, there are so many around the world who live in fear, who live in shame, who live in such difficult circumstances. And our work must continue until they have the same opportunity that all of you and so many other Americans have, which is to be recognized for who you are and to be given the respect that you so richly deserve.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

 

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 17, 2011

 


 

Today, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the first ever UN resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love.

The United States worked with the main sponsor, South Africa, and a number of other countries from many regions of the world to help pass this resolution, including Brazil, Colombia, members of the European Union, and others. This resolution will commission the first ever UN report on the challenges that LGBT persons face around the globe and will open a broader international discussion on how to best promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.

All over the world, people face human rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including torture, rape, criminal sanctions, and killing. Today’s landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution.

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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 22

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 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.

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One thing we love (among SO MANY!!) about our lovely and brilliant Secretary of State is her creativity and devotion in celebrating designated months. She has a way of setting off fireworks – sometimes even by accident. Due to the earthquake in Chile, her original itenerary for her March tour of South America was altered and diverted her to Buenos Aires where she spent day one of Women’s History Month at the Casa Rosada (RICH with women’s history) with President Cristina Kirchner.

While I will repeat my disappointment that her Gay Pride Month Proclamation was not sent out as a press release but rather buried in a section of the State Department website that you had to know to go to, I am heartened that she and Administrator Shah are participating in this event on Tuesday since I know that the SOS had nothing to do with hiding the proclamation.

Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah to Deliver Remarks at Event Celebrating LGBT Month on June 22

Office of the Spokesman

Washington, DC
June 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.

Then there is this bringing a smile to my face.

Pakistan: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Visit in July

VOA News 19 June 2010

Pakistan’s foreign minister says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Islamabad in July.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters Saturday that his American counterpart would be visiting for a second session of their U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. The first session was held in March.

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Readers here are well aware of how happy FM Qureshi is to make this announcement.

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The Secretary of State’s 2010 LGBT Pride Proclamation

June 7, 2010

This June, we celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. I join President Obama in recognizing the immeasurable contributions of the LGBT community both in the United States and around the world. In honor of LGBT Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend my appreciation to all those who work on behalf of human rights for all. At the State Department, USAID, and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our LGBT employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity, and peace worldwide.The United States also recognizes the unflagging efforts and courage of advocates and organizations fighting to promote equality and justice around the world, especially in countries where doing so puts their lives and their families at risk.

Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who that person is or who that person loves. The State Department is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence. We have specifically included the status of the human rights of LGBT individuals in our annual Human Rights Report in each country. We are working to protect LGBT people across the world, particularly those forced to flee their homes or countries. And the State Department will continue to counter efforts, anywhere they occur, to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize members of the LGBT community.

We have made significant progress but we still have challenging work ahead. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face horrific violence and repression around the world. Pride marches are often met with active and armed government resistance. Laws banning sexual orientation and gender expression undermine civil society, the rule of law, and public health outreach. The persecution and violation of human rights of members of the LGBT community is not only an affront to human dignity, but it also diminishes human progress and potential. As Secretary of State, I will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Let us recommit ourselves this year to building a future in which every child, whoever and wherever they are, has the opportunity, dignity, and freedom to fulfill his or her God-given potential.

I do not know why, but this did not come to me via any of my many State Department subscriptions. It is not listed in press releases or on the Secretary’s remarks. Anyway, I just found it, almost by accident, and am posting it now – better late than never as I promised … resolved … to keep a tight record this year. This is part of it.  It will be a big part, since she is about to bring this to the global level.  Add this to women, girls, and children.  You can take that to the bank!

I have two of those brown tee shirts with Hillary’s signature in aqua on the front.  on the back of the neck, also in aqua, it says “Make history.”  Well, that certainly is what she is doing!

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Usually, when I get advance notice of an event this early, I just hold onto it until the date of the event draws closer.  This is different.  As we embark on the final two weeks of Gay Pride Month,  there are indications that the Secretary of State is about to drop the other shoe.

Some readers will remember that in The Department of Homegirl Security, I posted this on June 10:  Hillary Clinton’s Gay Pride Month Gift to the LGBT Community: New Gender Change Policy for Passports.  At the time I thought that this was her one big firecracker for this year.  Apparently I underestimated  (bad on me!) our persistent, dedicated, and egalitarian SOS.  Wait folks!  She’s not done yet!  Have a look at this!

Hillary Clinton to address int’l LGBT issues

Chris Johnson | Jun 16, 2010 | Comments 0

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak Tuesday on the importance of integrating LGBT issues in U.S. foreign policy, according to the State Department’s LGBT affinity organization.

READ MORE HERE>>>>

All speeches by Hillary Rodham Clinton are purposeful, rational, beautifully organized, researched to a fault, and delivered,  by so invested a speaker,  with sincerity, reason, and often, a dose of passion.  (Speaking, she is easy on the ears and eyes, too, but that is beside the point.  I digress.  It is easy since she is just that charismatic.)  This speech promises to be a very important, landmark address in that it will break new ground in foreign policy.  It will set a new course for the 21st century.  This will not be a firecracker,  or the hand grenade I referred to on June 10.  This will be the equivalent of a nuclear explosion.  Hmmmm.  I am not expecting the homophobes in various quarters  to like it.  I AM expecting (prick up your ears, or eyes as it were), the LGBT Community to PAY ATTENTION!  Know on which side your bread is buttered.  It is “Mama Hillary” who is making your sandwiches.  Please do not forget that at some time in the future when there might, who knows, be a choice to make.

I will issue a second alert as the day approaches.

**UPDATE**  h/t to Pam Spaulding for finding and posting this.   Hillary Clinton issues the State Department’s 2010 LGBT Pride Proclamation. I awaited a press release and never received one on this proclamation.  I just went back to early June and this proclamation is neither in the press releases nor among her remarks.  She was in South America at the time, so this blog was pretty busy, but I WAS on the lookout for this year’s statement.  So thank you, Pam!

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