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President Obama: 'LGBT Rights Are Human Rights'

President Obama

The president issues a strong statement on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, President Obama has released a statement reminding nations around the world of "the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights."

In the statement, posted on the White House website, Obama noted his administration's activism on behalf of LGBT people and the recent advances made in LGBT rights, such as the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision last year. "At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad," he noted.

The statement comes after a week of pro-LGBT actions by the Obama administration, including a lawsuit filed against North Carolina's anti-LGBT House Bill 2; a directive that schools receiving federal funds must allow transgender students access to the facilities that correspond with their gender identity; and the finalization of an Affordable Care Act rule mandating that federally funded health care providers cannot deny transgender patients access to transition-related services.

Over the course of his presidency, Obama has also taken action to protect federal employees and contractors against anti-LGBT discrimination, and he has spoken out against homophobia and transphobia in other nations. The statement also echoes a famous speech made by Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of State, to the United Nations in 2011.

Here is the president's full statement:

On May 17, Americans and people around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity.

Our nation is committed to the principle that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. Advancing this goal has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and I am proud that my Administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world. I am also proud of the great strides that our nation has made at home in recent years, including that we now have marriage equality as a result of last year's landmark Supreme Court decision.

At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad. In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination, and violence. All nations and all communities can, and must, do better. Fortunately, human rights champions and good citizens around the world continue to strive towards this goal every day by lifting up the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights. The United States honors their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for human dignity.

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