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Secretary Hillary Clinton marks International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

WASHINGTON – All around the world today, millions of people are somberly observing the seventh International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out against crimes against LGBT people worldwide. Here is her statement:

In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.

In other news, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that homophobia and transphobia are no different to sexism, misogyny, racism or xenophobia.

Here is Pillay’s statement:

But whereas these last forms of prejudice are universally condemned by governments, homophobia and transphobia are too often overlooked.

History shows us the terrible human price of discrimination and prejudice. No one is entitled to treat a group of people as less valuable, less deserving or less worthy of respect. Each and every one of us is entitled to the same rights, to the same respect and ethical treatment, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Michel Sidibé , executive director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), issued this statement:

The AIDS response has shown that when people are stigmatized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are less likely to access the HIV services they need. This leads to new HIV infections and AIDS deaths.

IDAHO organizers say they expect about 50 million people in 50 countries to mark the annual event, which marks the day when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.