While the entire world was focused on President Obama speech about the Middle East, a major historic moment happened for the LGBT community in the very same speech. The President of the United States proclaimed his support for international LGBT rights with these words:
"No country should deny people their rights, the freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere."
Some might quickly dismiss this line as mere rhetoric and not action, but that would be missing the historical significance of an American President making LGBT rights part of the United Nations priorities. Never before in history has a U.S. President used this platform to urge the world to fight for the rights of our community. Quite honestly, it couldn't come at a better time.
The situation for the LGBT community is rapidly deteriorating around the globe. Three gay men were hanged in Iran. Ghana has just begun a major crackdown on its LGBT citizens. Uganda still threatens to make it the death penalty for being a homosexual. Kenya has increasingly become a hostile environment for us. Everywhere where there have been religious missions, in Africa, the rights and even the lives of our brothers and sisters have been put in jeopardy.
Having the President of the United States proclaim that LGBT rights are a basic right for all citizens of the world is powerful. The speech gives new energy to the international movement for human rights for our citizens. In this case, the rhetoric has real impact and real consequences and has served notice to other nations where this country stands on the issue.
Thank you, Mr. President