U.S. State Department working to further international LGBT rights

In his last few months in the role, Randy Berry, the State Department’s first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, will attempt to more directly spur positive change for trans people across the world.  Berry told The New York Times, “as I’ve been traveling around, the most compelling stories of tragedy and perseverance come from the transgender community.”

President Obama created the LGBT-focused envoy position in 2015, however the next president could potentially eliminate the job.  The State Department has been particularly vocal on the issue of LGBTI rights under both Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.  In December 2011, Clinton delivered a landmark speech forcefully arguing that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”  And earlier this month Kerry recorded a video greeting, embedded below, to open Out Leadership’s senior leader summit in New York.

In 2011 the Obama Administration also established the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership aimed at providing support to LGBTI campaigners across the globe.  Since its launch the fund has provided more than $30 million to LGBTI advocates in every major region of the world.

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