Pride at State

The Atlantic Council and the US Department of State, along with GLIFAA, hosted US Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, Special US Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, for the annual Pride at State event on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. The event took place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m, in the Dean Acheson Auditorium at the Department of State. Over 500 attendees were present. Following remarks by Regina Jun, President of GLIFAA, the Atlantic Council’s Secretary, Walter B. Slocombe, offered some remarks on the issue of LGBT rights, and spoke about the Council’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in foreign policy. Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry, introduced US Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning – the first openly gay US Secretary of the Army.

Secretary Fanning’s speech, by telling the story of the army, underscored the immense progress for LGBT people in the Army, without dismissing the challenges ahead.

Following his remarks, US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the Orlando shooting, but also recognized the immense progress of LGBTI rights. He stated that hate crimes against the LGBT community are contrary to the values of the American people, and recognized the contributions of GLIFAA in promoting sexual diversity and inclusion in the diplomatic corps. Finally, he announced that the United States will support a Resolution at the United Nations, that seeks to establish a mechanism to combat violence against LGBT persons. He stated: “we are engaged at every level of leadership… and we are particularly concernced about violence facing transgender persons.”

Image: US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the audience on June 21, 2016 on the state of LGBT rights, both in the US and abroad.