I applaud the release of the historic 2022 U.S. Interagency Report on the Implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World. The report puts a timely spotlight on affirmative efforts of the U.S. government, in partnership with LGBTQI+ leaders, civil-society organizations, rights advocates, and a range of partners, to defend the human rights and dignity of LGBTQI+ persons in every region of the world and across sectors.
The February 2021 Presidential Memorandum was a call to action based on a simple premise: that all human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Over the past year, as today’s report demonstrates, USAID has made important progress toward achieving these ambitions through a commitment to LGBTQI+ inclusive development in our policies and programs that reach millions of people around the world. From supporting access to health care for transgender people in India to strengthening community responses to gender-based violence in South Africa to working in Georgia to broaden access to legal services to counter hate crimes, USAID is working at every level to promote and protect the human rights and advance the inclusive development of LGBTQI+ persons.
Today’s report also highlights the catalytic power of partnerships in our work. “Nothing about us without us” is a guiding principle of USAID’s efforts to support and advance LGBTQI+ human rights. Over the past year, USAID-supported programs through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that work in partnership with LGBTQI+ community organizations, mainstream public health institutions, and Ministries of Health which reached more than 669,000 LGBTQI+ community members with health services globally. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, our USAID Missions have also spearheaded the transformational Being LGBTI in the Caribbean initiative, a platform for gathering groundbreaking data on the legal, social, and economic challenges facing LGBTQI+ persons in the Caribbean and for convening campaigns that expand our understanding of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics in the region.
To help meet the ambitious agenda of the Presidential Memorandum, in 2021 I appointed Jay Gilliam as USAID’s Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator. Jay provides the Agency vital vision and expertise and is advancing efforts with Treasury and other agencies to bring LGBTQI+ inclusive safeguards to the world’s premier multilateral development banks. USAID is also promoting LGBTQI+-inclusive programming in areas such as education and food security.
Yet our work is far from done. The human rights of LGBTQI+ persons and inclusive development must be a whole of government effort. In the year ahead, I look forward to both building upon the progress of USAID in this regard as well as the opportunity to present even more progress on the fulfillment of the Presidential Memorandum in 2023.