President Barack Obama, Vice President
Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry released statements
marking the 10th anniversary of the International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (IDAHOT).
In his statement released Friday, Obama
vowed to “recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all
people should be treated equally, that they should have the
opportunity to reach their fullest potential, and that no one should
face violence or discrimination – no matter who they are or whom
The president also noted efforts in
other parts of the world to oppress LGBT persons.
“At a time when, tragically, we are
seeing increased efforts to criminalize or oppress LGBT persons, we
call on partners everywhere to join us in defending the equal rights
of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and in ensuring they are treated
with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Obama said.
In a tweet to followers, Biden wrote:
“#LGBT rights are inseparable from human rights. Stop
criminalizing. Stop discriminating. Stop the violence. #IDAHOT.”
Kerry echoed Biden's words, saying
“human rights are universal.”
“But this must be more than a moment
to celebrate how far we have come. We know that our work is not
complete when countries enact laws targeting LGBT persons and their
supporters. We know that our work is not complete when LGBT persons
and their allies are harassed, arrested, and even killed simply
because of who they are and who they love,” Kerry
said in a statement.
“The United States condemns these
senseless acts of violence and discrimination. Human rights are
universal, and LGBT persons and their allies must be free to exercise
them without fear of intimidation or reprisal.”
“When our LGBT brothers and sisters
are threatened anywhere, it is a threat to freedom, justice and
dignity of people everywhere. The United States will continue to
protect and promote the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide this
day and every day. Onward,” he added.
The annual May 17th event is
the brainchild of Louis-Georges Tin, a professor and author of a
number of books, including the Dictionary of Homophobia.
IDAHOT celebrates the 1990 date homosexuality was removed from the
World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classifications of