USAID Commemorates International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

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Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 17, 2021
Office of Press Relations

Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recognizes International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Commemorated in more than 130 countries, the day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization in 1990 declassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Since 2004, activists have used the day to draw attention to the ongoing violence, discrimination, stigma, and polarization faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, and sex characteristics.

Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and other people of diverse sexualities and genders (LGBTQI+) confront severe abuse, criminalization, and forced medical or psychological “treatments” to change their identities. Even in countries with legal protections, LGBTQI+ people face alarmingly high rates of violence. Discriminatory practices deny LGBTQI+ people access to essential services and public benefits, which, all too often, trap them in cycles of extreme poverty and poor health. LGBTQI+ youth are more likely to experience bullying, homelessness, and difficulties accessing education.

To address these realities, USAID advances the innate human rights of LGBTQI+ people and seeks to protect them from violence, discrimination, stigma, and criminalization. In addition, building on President Biden’s Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World, USAID strives to integrate considerations of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics across its development and humanitarian programs.

USAID is committed to bringing about a world that is free from discrimination and harassment, one in which people are free to love and be who they choose. USAID is also committed to a workplace that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect for all LGBTQI+ staff, as articulated in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order on day one about preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. USAID will work tirelessly to advance the new USAID strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For more information about USAID’s work on LGBTQI+ rights and development, please visit: Advancing LGBTQI+ Inclusive Development | US Agency for International Development

Last updated: June 27, 2022

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