The Seattle Lesbian news desk received the following press release Wednesday from the U.S. Department of State.
The Department of State has long supported programs that advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most at risk and vulnerable populations. In order to formalize this focus, effective March 2012, the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) will require that, to the extent possible, program submissions advancing human rights and democracy address the human rights concerns of these groups.
As it evaluates proposals, the Bureau will now assign weighted criteria to how proposals support and empower women, racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations within their program objectives.
Grant applicants will also be required to include, as appropriate, specific means, measures and corresponding targets related to this goal. DRL’s new Program Submission Instructions can be found here.
In a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 8, 2012 (International Women’s Day), the importance of gender equality was also referenced.
The United States is committed to making women and their advancement a cornerstone of our foreign policy not just because it’s the right thing to do. Investing in women and girls is good for societies, and it is also good for the future prosperity of countries. Women drive our economies. They build peace and prosperity and political stability for everyone—men and women, boys and girls. So let us recommit ourselves to a future of equality. Together, we can ensure that all people everywhere have the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential.
On December 6, 2011 (International Human Rights Day), Secretary Clinton expressed her commitment to the LGBT community in a historic speech in Geneva.
Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.
I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.
For more information regarding the White House’s commitment to the LGBT community, check out the Fact Sheet here: The Obama Administration’s Commitment to Winning the Future for the LGBT Community.