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Letters to President-elect Obama: Peter Tatchell

Letters to President-elect Obama: Peter Tatchell

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Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear Mr. President:

You have a historic opportunity to give new expression to America's noble ideals of liberty, justice, and equality, by defending and protecting human rights--including the human rights of LGBTI people in the United States and worldwide.

There are many initiatives you can undertake at relatively little cost, but which will greatly enhance the moral stature of the United States:

* Initiate a new U.N. International Human Rights Convention, enforceable worldwide and including protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status.

* Instruct the State Department to compile a Global Index of LGBTI Rights and to raise abuses of these rights in the United Nations and with offending states, such as Jamaica, Pakistan, Uganda, Iran, Nigeria, Yemen, Cameroon, Belarus, and Iraq. Make U.S. aid to homophobic countries conditional on their repeal of antigay and antitrans laws. Show the way by eliminating such discriminatory laws in the United States.

* Use the network and resources of the U.S. Agency for International Development to train LGBTI human rights defenders and support LGBTI organizations, especially in poorer developing countries

* Press for a worldwide end to the execution of LGBTI people (and others) and take the lead by ending the death penalty in the United States. Withdraw diplomatic, economic, and military support from tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia that deny freedom to their own people and persecute LGBTIs.

* Recognize and support the International Criminal Court to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Renounce the U.S. policy of selective and unilateral military intervention to overthrow foreign dictatorships, in favor of a policy supporting civil society organizations to empower the victims of oppression to liberate themselves.

* Declare a Global War on Poverty to save the lives of the 1.5 billion people on our planet who are malnourished and without safe clean drinking water (of which about 100 million are LGBTI). What is the point of having LGBTI equality if you die of starvation and disease? Press for a U.N. Convention Against Poverty, whereby the nations of the world, including the United States, agree to cut their annual military expenditure by 10% and to divert the money saved into a Marshall Plan 2 for the total eradication of hunger, dirty drinking water, and preventable illnesses by the year 2025.

* Act now to halt the single greatest threat to the future of humanity: climate chaos. It is more of a danger than terrorism and war, and it threatens the survival of all species of all sexualities. LGBTI freedom means nothing if we don't have a planet where we can enjoy it. Preserving our fragile biosphere is the precondition for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--for every human being, regardless of sexual orientation.

Destiny awaits you, Mr. President. The hopes of humanity are in your hands. May you rise to greatness as a unifier who shapes a freer and fairer future--not just for the American people but for the people of the whole world.

Peter TatchellLGBT human rights campaigner and spokesman for OutRage!London

More Letters to the President-elect:Tammy Baldwin, Democratic member of Congress from Wisconsin

Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day

Evan Wolfson, Executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Melissa Etheridge, singer-songwriter

Michelangelo Signorile, radio host and author of Queer in America

Tammy Bruce, radio talk-show host and author of The New American Revolution

Kenji Yoshino, professor at New York University School of Law and the author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

Vestal McIntyre, author of You Are Not the One and the forthcoming Lake Overturn

Jarrett Lucas, codirector of the 2008 Soulface Q Equality Ride

Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl and Avoidance

Suzanne Westenhoefer, comedian and star of the documentary A Bottom on Top

Jim Buzinski, CEO and cofounder of Outsports.com

Perez Hilton, blogger, radio host, and television personality

Carole Midgen, former California state senator

Pam Spaulding, Durham, N.C.-based blogger

Paris Barclay, Executive Producer/Director HBO's In Treatment

Lorri L. Jean, CEO, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center

Jeffrey Prang, Mayor of West Hollywood

Jorge Valencia, Executive director and CEO of Point Foundation

Mark Leno, California assemblyman

The Reverend Doctor Troy D. Perry, founder and moderator emeritus, Metropolitan Community Churches\

Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality

Donna Rose, transgender activist

Peter Tatchell, LGBT human rights campaigner and spokesman for OutRage!

Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality

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