Hillary Clinton Urges State Department Employees to Let Teens Know It's Okay to Be Homosexual
June 22, 2010 - 3:21 PMSecretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged State Department employees to reach out to teens to let them know that homosexuality is okay.
“We’ve come such a far distance in our own country, but there are still so many who need the outreach, need the mentoring, need the support to stand up and be who they are and then think about people in so many countries where it just seems impossible,” Clinton said.
“So I think that each and everyone of you, not only professionally, particularly from State and USAID and every bureau and every embassy and every part of our government have to do what you can to create that safe space, but also personally, to really look for those who might need a helping hand; particularly young people; particularly teenagers who still today have such a difficult time,” she added.
“And who, still in numbers far beyond what should ever happen, take their own life rather than live that life,” Clinton said at the event, billed as a human rights and U.S. foreign policy speech.
“So I would ask you to please think of ways you can be there for everyone who is making this journey,” Clinton said. “To defend not only human rights globally, but to truly defend themselves and their rights,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s remarks are part of a high-profile campaign by the Obama administration to mark Gay Pride Month with gatherings at various federal agencies, including the State Department on Tuesday. The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have held similar events.
Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, in her remarks to introduce Clinton said the Obama administration is “trying to change the world” and that it feels good “to be on the right side of change.”
Mills said Clinton has a “personal commitment” to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community.
“Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all,” Clinton said. “So here at the State Department we will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Clinton said that “agenda” must be advanced both around the world and at home.
“So as we continue to advance LGBT rights in other countries, we also must continually work to make sure we are advancing the agenda here,” Clinton said.
She closed her remarks by commenting on the significance of the gathering at the U.S. Department of State.
“And I thank you for being part of one of history’s great moments,” Clinton said.