Ambassador Branstad commemorates the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

On May 17, the U.S. Embassy in China marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT).  IDAHOT is a day to celebrate advances we’ve made toward equality and justice for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow citizens.  It is also a day to examine the steps we can take to end discrimination and address related issues of harassment and violence.

In the United States, we continue to seek advances in the struggle to end violence and discrimination against LGBTI Americans.  Today, twenty U.S. states as well as Washington, DC have enacted laws that prohibit employment discrimination against all LGBTI persons, and two other states prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  In addition, at least 225 U.S. cities and counties prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Despite these and other advances, a number of governments around the world have proposed or enacted laws that aim to curb rights for LGBTI people and organizations, making it difficult for them to find support — and for their voices to be heard.

I am encouraged that a growing number of Chinese citizens support efforts to combat discrimination against the LGBTI community.  Like many similar citizens in the United States, they work tirelessly to uphold the rights of LGBTI individuals and speak out about the challenges of finding acceptance and fighting discrimination.

IDAHOT is an important day and a fitting reminder of the work remaining to ensure none of us face discrimination or the threat of violence just because of who we are.  Let’s all work together to end this intolerance.