Statement by Ambassador Max Baucus on International Day Against Homophobia

I am proud to join my colleagues at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and at U.S. Consulates throughout China in commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia. This is a day marked around the world to counter homophobia and raise awareness of the discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

Personal prejudices, no matter how strongly felt, must not be used to deny equal protection under the law.  Much of the world has come to understand that one’s sexual orientation and gender identity is neither a choice nor a political statement. The spirit of this day is simple:  none of us should face discrimination because of who we are or whom we love.

We should all come together to support and protect vulnerable communities and promote a society in which everyone – especially LGBT youth – can live safely and without fear.  We should support the individuals and organizations that are working, often under very challenging circumstances, to raise awareness and make the world a safer and more welcoming place for the LGBT community.  Secretary Kerry pledged that the United States would continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world as we stand up for freedom, for justice, and for equal rights, and I am proud today to stand with our Chinese lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender neighbors, co-workers, and fellow global citizens.