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International Women’s Day: Honoring American Women Leading the Way for LGBT Equality

by Hayley Miller March 08, 2016

On International Women’s Day, HRC honors three top American officials who have fought for LGBT equality around the globe: Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used her platform to champion LGBT rights around the globe.

In 2011, Secretary Clinton stood before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and told the world’s leaders, “gay rights are human rights.” During her tenure at the State Department, the U.S. helped pass the first-ever UN Resolution on the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. As Secretary of State, she also launched the Global Equality Fund to support programs that advance the human rights of LGBT people abroad and went toe-to-toe with world leaders over the government-sanctioned violence against the LGBT community.

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice has also been a steadfast ally of the LGBT community during her administration service. Last year, Rice spoke out against Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s “unconscionable” threats against LGBT Gambians. And, after a town hall in Jamaica with President Obama and LGBT advocates, Rice tweeted, “Anti-LGBT discrimination and violence is unacceptable everywhere. This is US policy globally.” In 2014, Rice spoke at the first-ever LGBT Human Rights Forum where she proclaimed that the most challenging human rights issue facing the U.S. is protecting international LGBT people from discrimination. Prior to her role as National Security Advisor, one of her first acts as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in 2009 was to add the U.S. to a U.N. General Assembly resolution opposing the criminalization of LGBT people and their relationships.

U.S Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power has made LGBT equality a focal point at the U.N. Last year, Power and her Chilean counterpart held the first ever U.N. Security Council meeting on LGBT rights. After Uganda passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, she supported sanctions against Uganda and highlighted other countries that criminalize LGBT people. Under Power’s leadership, the U.N. passed a Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in 2014, which urged leaders at the international, regional and nation levels to fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Clinton, Rice and Powers are three American women who exemplify what it means to be an ally, continually showing support for LGBT people and promoting equality at home and around the globe. During their careers in international relations, these women have recognized the struggles of the LGBT community, sought to advance justice and equality, and have fiercely opposed those who would undermine lgbt rights.  

Today, we thank them, and so many other female leaders, for their leadership, dedication and support to our community.

Hayley Miller
Hayley Miller


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