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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender

Advancing Equality for LGBT People Abroad

Last week, Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council, described in a blog post the Obama Administration’s ongoing efforts to advance equality for LGBT people abroad.

Advancing the human rights of LGBT people around the world is central to the Administration’s comprehensive human rights agenda. With LGBT people facing death, violence, persecution, and discrimination around the world, the stakes could not be higher. Seventy-eight countries have laws that criminalize consensual same-sex acts between adults, resulting in unchecked human rights abuses and exploitation by police, security officials and private citizens. In at least 5 countries, the death penalty can be applied for being gay. Even where being LGBT is not a crime, violence by state and non-state actors alike often goes unpunished and LGBT communities live in fear and isolation.

As President Obama has said, “no one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love.” To ensure a comprehensive U.S. response to these threats, one year ago, President Obama issued the first ever Presidential Memorandum to advance the human rights of LGBT persons, requiring all U.S. agencies engaged abroad to “ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” and to report annually on their progress.

We are continuing to lead a government-wide effort to oversee implementation of the Presidential Memorandum and ensure effective coordination across different agencies and offices. Learn more about these efforts.


DOJ Senior Official Addresses the National Center for Transgender Equality

Earlier this month, Roy L. Austin, Jr., the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, delivered the keynote speech at the Ninth Anniversary of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C.

In his remarks, Roy emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to safety and justice for all Americans, including transgender Americans, and described some of the significant steps taken by the Department of Justice to investigate, address, and prevent discrimination. Read more about this at a blog post by the Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

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