U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a landmark speech on LGBT rights to the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday 6th December. Mrs Clinton’s message was addressed to countries around the world whose social, cultural and religious traditions have long denied the LGBT community their basic human rights. She drove home that their rights were just as equal as everyone else’s, and that any denial of this was as outdated as the denial of rights to racial minorities or women.
Secretary Clinton echoed her historic 1995 speech on women’s rights, when she was the keynote speaker at the United Nations Women’s Conference – even paraphrasing her famous quote “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” That Mrs Clinton chose to make LGBT rights the focus of her speech is representative of its importance to the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
Whilst it takes a lot more than a keynote speech to alter the views of the global community at large, Hillary Clinton has a voice with more volume and authority than most, and the importance of her message will be felt far below as she leads from above. And aside from her personal involvement with the cause, she is in a position to tell the LGBT communities suppressed around the world that, “you have an ally in the United States.” Always an advocate for women and for the gay community, Clinton continues to stand up for those who are persecuted around the world for being who they are. For that, I applaud her.
The full transcript of the speech can be read here: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/12/178368.htm