Statement by Secretary Kerry: Commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17)

On International Day Against Homophoia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, we stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons worldwide.   We celebrate the progress made to advance a world where all persons are respected and can live free from fear and discrimination.  And today we reaffirm our belief all persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

The United States is unwavering in our commitment to advance full equality for LGBTI individuals everywhere.  We recognize there is still much work to be done.  As American civil rights leader Fredrick Douglass famously said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

Last February, I was honored to appoint the first ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry. In his first year, Special Envoy Berry has traveled to over 40 countries, discussing the human rights of LGBTI individuals with senior government officials, and bringing together the faith and business community, in recognition that we all have a role to play in advancing equality.

Around the world, U.S. embassies and consulates work closely with LGBTI communities in support of equality.  We integrate respect for the rights of LGBTI persons throughout our assistance programs.  Through the Global Equality Fund, we provide direct support to LGBTI civil society organizations to enable them to produce social change.

Here at home, we know that when communities exclude, we do not—cannot—reach our full potential.  When people are arrested, harassed, or even killed, just for being who they are or expressing whom they love, we all suffer. So our work is not over.

On this day—and every day—let us redouble our efforts to create a more just and fair world for all. Onward.