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By Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

For over 50 years, people around the world have come together to celebrate Pride Month, when we recognise the beautiful diversity of LGBTQI+ communities while acknowledging that the movement to advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons has been one of both struggle and progress. 

Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Uprising, a fateful day in 1969 when LGBTQI+ people fought back against police mistreatment and discrimination.  Their act of protest led to the birth of a human rights movement.  That movement ultimately helped secure greater recognition of the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons and strengthened American democracy itself. 

Countries are stronger when all people — regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics – are fully recognised as free and equal members of their society.

One of the leading human rights issues of our time is the treatment of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.  LGBTQI+ communities continue to live with unacceptable violence and discrimination. Those who seek to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ persons are especially vulnerable to attack.  In too many countries today, access to LGBTQI+-related information is restricted and representation of LGBTQI+ issues is censored.  Too often, Pride events themselves are banned by governments or violently disrupted by those motivated by hatred.

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The Department is working to advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons in line with President Biden’s Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World.  The State Department updated U.S. passport application policies to allow for gender self-certification and offered an “X” gender marker option.  We issued the annual Human Rights Reports that included robust coverage of the human rights abuses against LGBTQI+ persons. 

We monitored court proceedings when LGBTQI+ persons were unjustly arrested.  We re-affirmed that LGBTQI+ persons and their families deserve full equality, and we stood with local advocates for marriage equality.  We spoke out when LGBTQI+ persons were the victims of hate crimes.  We also celebrated a milestone:  the Global Equality Fund passed the threshold of disbursing over $100 million dollars in over 100 countries to support the movement for the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons on the frontlines.  We conduct all of this work recognizing that Americans have much work to do to ensure equality and dignity for LGBTQI+ persons at home.

In celebration of Pride Month, the U.S. Department of State recommits to protecting and promoting the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

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