|“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.”|
–President Barack Obama
Secretary of State John Kerry has committed to advancing the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals as a central part of our human rights engagement. Taking into account the Secretary’s commitment as well as the Presidential Memorandum issued December 6, 2011, that directs all federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs has developed a regional strategy that strives to eliminate violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Respect for the human rights of LGBT persons in the Western Hemisphere varies dramatically by country. Some countries offer legal protections for LGBT persons, whereas others have laws that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. Recognizing that violence and discrimination based on a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity hinder the prosperity of countries, WHA has developed a four-part strategy to: