(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama marked International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Tuesday, saying he is “proud” that his administration “has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals” a focus of U.S. engagement around the world.
“On May 17, Americans and people around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity,” Obama said in a statement on the White House website.
“Our nation is committed to the principle that all people should be treated fairly and with respect,” he said. “Advancing this goal has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and I am proud that my Administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world.”
Obama also said he was proud of the “great strides” the nation has made domestically, including the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
“I am also proud of the great strides that our nation has made at home in recent years, including that we now have marriage equality as a result of last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision,” he said.
“At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad. In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination, and violence. All nations and all communities can, and must, do better,” Obama said.
“Fortunately, human rights champions and good citizens around the world continue to strive towards this goal every day by lifting up the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights. The United States honors their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for human dignity,” he concluded.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2014. As CNSNews.com reported, March 17 is the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. It was originally known as IDAHO, but the “T” was added in 2009 to broaden the focus to include “transphobia.”