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Issues: LGBTI


The U.S. government recognizes gay rights and human rights as one and the same, because no matter one’s sexual orientation, we are all equally entitled to human rights and dignity.  Thus, discrimination based on sexual orientation is a violation of human rights.  As such, the U.S. government works to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals worldwide through foreign policy.  The United States is dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, and fighting discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Learn more about what U.S. embassies abroad are doing to support the rights of LGBTI persons during Pride 2015.


Item 4: General Debate on Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
Jun 15, 2017 | Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Scott Busby
We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detentions, excessive sentencing, abuse, torture, and harsh prison conditions that Iran imposes on human rights defenders, minorities, and other prisoners of conscience. We call on the government to end executions of juvenile offenders, to release all prisoners of conscience, and admit Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir. ...Read More
Press Release
2017 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month
Jun 7, 2017 | Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson
The U.S. remains committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons. Dignity and equality for all persons are among our founding constitutional principles, and these principles continue to drive U.S. diplomacy. ...Read More
UPR 27th Session-Intervention for Poland
May 9, 2017 | U.S. Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council

As delivered by Sheila Leonard

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States welcomes the Polish delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We commend the progress made by Poland in addressing our 2012 UPR recommendation to institute law enforcement outreach to LGBTI communities and to increase hate crimes reporting. We also commend senior government officials for recent statements condemning anti-Semitism.

We remain deeply concerned about judicial independence, especially regarding Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. We urge the government ...Read More

UPR 27th Session-Intervention for the United Kingdom
May 4, 2017 | U.S. Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council

As delivered by Sheila Leonard

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States warmly welcomes the United Kingdom to the UPR Working Group.

The United States commends the UK for its ongoing support for democracy and human rights within the country and around the world. We specifically commend it for its Hate Crime Action Plan. We share its concern about the increase in intolerance and the number of hate crimes in the UK.

As noted in ...Read More

UPR 27th Session-Intervention for Tunisia
May 2, 2017 | U.S. Delegation to the UN Human Rights Council
We are concerned by the lack of transparency in investigating recent reports of security forces abuses, arbitrary detentions, and arrests under the state of emergency and counterterrorism laws. Ongoing arrests of individuals for consensual same-sex adult conduct are inconsistent with international human rights obligations. Court-ordered anal exams without consent are also troubling. ...Read More
Press Release
Statement on Situation in Chechnya
Apr 26, 2017 | Equal Rights Coalition

The undersigned Equal Rights Coalition members urgently call on Russian federal authorities to conduct an independent and credible investigation into reports of arbitrary detention, torture and killing of gay men by security services and other government authorities in the Republic of Chechnya.  If these reports prove credible, we call on the Russian government to take steps to ensure the release of anyone wrongfully detained and hold accountable anyone found responsible. These steps are in-line with ...Read More

Press Release
Ambassador Haley on Reports of Detentions and Killings in Chechnya
Apr 17, 2017 | U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley

We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association. If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses.

We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human ...Read More

Press Release
Apology for Past Discrimination toward Employees and Applicants based on Sexual Orientation
Jan 9, 2017 | Secretary of State John Kerry

Throughout my career, including as Secretary of State, I have stood strongly in support of the LGBTI community, recognizing that respect for human rights must include respect for all individuals. LGBTI employees serve as proud members of the State Department and valued colleagues dedicated to the service of our country.  For the past several years, the Department has pressed for the families of LGBTI officers to have the same protections overseas as families of other ...Read More

Human Rights Heroes: Conversation on Gender Equality and Disability Rights
Dec 9, 2016 | Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, Judith Heumann

Transcript below:


JUDY HEUMANN:  Hello everyone and thank you for joining us for this month’s Human Rights Heroes podcast.

My name is Judy Heumann.  I’m the State Department’s Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. 

For your information, I use a motorized wheelchair because I had polio in 1949. 

Now, almost 69 years old, I have seen significant changes in the United ...Read More

A Conversation on Gender Equality and Disability Rights with Silvia Quan
Jan 9, 2017 | Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, Judith Heumann

As one of the most tenacious leaders in her generation of disability rights advocates, Silvia Quan has faced down the forces of discrimination and fought for expanding the rights of all persons with disabilities, in her native Guatemala, in the broader Latin American region, and on the global stage. For her many achievements, especially in her capacity as Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Silvia was recently honored with the ...Read More

2015 GEF Annual Report

Pride Month 2016

Listen: Nisha Ayub Interview

Randy Berry Twitter Feed

Fact Sheet - Dec. 2015 Update

  • Global Equality Fund Fact Sheet - December 2015 update



Fact Sheet

  • LGBT Fact Sheet


Featured Quote

  • "We have a moral obligation to speak up against marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. We have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just and more fair, more tolerant.”
    - Secretary of State John Kerry, 2014 UN General Assembly