President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both recognized the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
Biden issued a statement celebrating the progress toward LGBTQ+ equality in the past 31 years -- the day, observed today, recognizes the anniversary of the date in 1990 that the World Health Organization ceased classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder -- but he noted that much more needs to be done.
"Courageous activists in America and around the world have championed progress, and won," said the statement, posted on the White House website. "Here at home, marriage equality and greater protections against hate crimes are the law of the land. Overseas, foreign governments, civil societies, and international organizations like the United Nations finally recognize that LGBTQI+ people are deserving of the full measure of dignity and equality.
"Despite this progress, both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people -- and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color. Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services."
Biden said his administration "will always stand with the LGBTQI+ community" and pointed out his rollback of discriminatory policies, enactment of inclusive ones, and appointments of out officials. He went on to urge Congress to pass the Equality Act, a broad LGBTQ+ rights bill that has been approved by the U.S. House but has yet to receive a vote in the Senate.
"Everyone is entitled to dignity and equality, no matter who they are, whom they love, or how they identify," the president added.
Blinken's statement on the State Department website noted the poignancy of this year's theme for the day, "Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!" "Ending hatred and violence against LGBTQI+ persons requires collaborative action from us all," he said. "The United States is doing its part. Within the first weeks of his administration, President Biden issued a Memorandum instructing all U.S. federal agencies working abroad to 'ensure that U.S. diplomatic efforts and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.' And that important work is well underway.
"The United States is prioritizing efforts in several key areas: combating criminalization of LGBTQI+ status or conduct; protecting vulnerable LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers; providing funding to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; responding to human rights abuses of LGBTQI+ persons; and building coalitions and engaging international organizations in the fight against LGBTQI+ discrimination. Working together, we can create a world that respects and celebrates the dignity of all individuals. It is in partnership that we will achieve our goal of a rights-respecting, inclusive society where no one lives in fear because of who they are or whom they love."
"In celebrating the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons worldwide, the United States re-affirms this shared value: Everyone deserves to live in dignity," Blinken concluded.