Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an address to the United Nations in Geneva last night urging nations to respect the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Clinton noted that over 80 nations maintain laws criminalizing LGBT individuals and indicated that the US would pledge $3 million in aid to protect LGBT rights.

Secretary of State Clinton stated, “I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed… I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time…Being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

Clinton’s speech follows President Obama’s executive order yesterday detailing the responsibilities of federal agencies working abroad to protect LGBT rights. The Presidential order stated the need to “combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful US responses to human rights of LGBT persons; and engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.”

Advocate.com 12/6/11; LA Times 12/6/11; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Statement 12/6/11

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