Thanks to regular TSM commenter Jay for this week’s winning HWA nomination. What a pleasure to recognize Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her stirring speech to the United Nations as part of the week leading up to Human Rights Day. Secretary Clinton built on a White House memorandum that directs
all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.
From that wonderful platform, she spent 30 minutes clearly articulating the fact that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” The full video is available here and a transcript is here. The following excerpt captures the spirit of her comments.
Today 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. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or too often even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm. 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. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on Human Rights for gay people is far from perfect…
Now raising this issue I know is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs. [But] being gay is not a western invention. It is a human reality. And protecting the Human Rights of all people gay or straight is not something that only western governments do.
Thank you, Madame Secretary, and special thanks for recognizing how far our own country has to go. May your stirring words provide the sound foundation for full civil rights in foreign and domestic policy.