Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

(San Francisco, CA, December 6, 2011)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her groundbreaking speech today on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Speaking to human rights leaders from around the world, Secretary Clinton made a powerful case for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in human rights protections, and pledged that securing those rights is a priority of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton said: “To LGBTQ men and women worldwide, wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to networks of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. . . . You have an ally in the United States of America.”

Secretary Clinton’s speech was accompanied by a memorandum from the White House directing all federal agencies engaged abroad to use U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQ persons.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:

“Hearing the United States Secretary of State speak passionately about ending violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people throughout the world left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. To imagine what the world would be like if the vision Secretary Clinton laid out were to come to pass, is to imagine a world of such deep and enduring humanity that any dream can be realized.

Between the initiatives outlined in the President’s memo, and the visionary speech of Secretary Clinton, it seems possible that my children could grow up in a world where LGBTQ people are no longer terrorized or victimized based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. It seems possible that LGBTQ people could become, as the Secretary put it, “free and equal in dignity and rights” around the world. This is a day to remember, and one that will mark the beginning of a new era in the international recognition of our community.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.