Tuesday, July 10, 2012

U.S. Embassy in Honduras celebrates LGBT pride

New American Media
It would be hard to overstate just how amazingly LGBT-friendly the US State Department has been under the leadership of Hillary Clinton even as she prepares to depart later this year.
I first took note of the changes at hand in January of 2011 when the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras took the highly unusual step to publicly put pressure on the Honduran government to investigate an increasing number of attacks and murders committed against dozens of transgender women throughout the nation. That was soon followed by a statement by President Barack Obama himself and offers from the State Department to provide intelligence and legal assistance. It all culminated with Honduran authorities grudgingly announcing that they had launched a special hate crimes unit in November of that year.
Then came that extraordinary speech Secretary Clinton gave before the United Nations human rights office in Geneva in which she most memorably proclaimed 'gay rights are human rights' and made commitments to fight discrimination against members of the LGBT community throughout the world...
This year a number of US Embassies throughout Latin America felt the same way.
HONDURAS: On June 20th, US Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske tweeted "The US Government supports the Honduran LGBT community in their fight for equality and respect #humanrights #LGBTpride" on her Twitter account (she also sent the message in Spanish).
Critics of US support for Honduran president Porfirio Lobo Sósa quickly jumped on the comment and asked if US police and military funding to Honduras would be conditioned on ending killings against members of the LGBT community to which she indirectly replied "Many Honduran LGBT have repeatedly told me how much they appreciate USG support of SVU which has arrested 12 ppl connected to LGBT murders."
It turns out that on the same day Ambassador Kubiske sent those tweets she was holding a public LGBT pride month event in which she reiterated some of the warnings her predecessor Hugo Llorens had given the Honduran government a year and a half earlier.
Here is a translated excerpt of her comments that day as reported by La Tribuna:
“Honduras has serious issues towards the LGBT community because it does not respect their rights and for us that is a key issue. That's the reason why several officials from United States have come to Honduras to ascertain that investigations of these crimes are done in an effective and prompt manner... All vulnerable groups need protection and when crimes are committed against them they deserve an investigation and a proper judicial process.”
“We certainly acknowledge the advances made during the previous year but we have to keep in mind that the number of violent attacks against the LGBT community have continued to increase, unfortunately.”
La Tribuna also noted Interim Director for the USAID office in Honduras Ken Seifert was a guest of honor "announced" he was gay and read excerpts from his published novel "The Rising Storm."
USAID, as I wrote last month, is on the verge of launching an LGBT Global Development Partnership Initiative.

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