The U.S. State Department announced the creation of a new senior level position that could help advance the rights and equality of LGBT persons worldwide. The State Department has named a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. The new role has been filled by Randy W. Berry who is a highly experienced diplomat. He has previously served as the U.S. Consul General in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Auckland, New Zealand; and as a State Department official in Uganda, Bangladesh, Egypt, South Africa and Washington D.C.
The rights of LGBT persons in the United States are far from secure. The fight for equality continues on many fronts. LGBT persons are still subjected to abuse, harassment and discrimination here at home. The situation across the globe ranges from unfortunate to absolutely tragic. It is not hard to find places where having a disfavored sexual orientation is nothing short of a death sentence. The Special Envoy can help make sure that the rights of LGBT persons are a priority in our foreign policy endeavors all over the world.
Getting our own house in order is important. We cannot be considered a leader in human rights as long as members of the LGBT community don’t receive equal treatment in schools, at work, in the courthouse and in any other avenue of life. Still, we have a responsibility to advocate for human rights wherever they are threatened. For those of us who care deeply about equality and justice for LGBT persons, the new role created by the State Department is a step in the right direction.
Source: Newsweek, “U.S. State Department Appoints First Special Envoy for LGBT Rights,” by Stav Ziv, 24 February 2015