Pride Week 2020 – Open Letter from Ambassador Carla Sands

On the occasion of Copenhagen Pride Week 2020, the entire U.S. Embassy team and I wish all those throughout the Kingdom of Denmark a great week full of inspiring conversations that seek to provide solutions for advancing the rights of LGBTI persons and protecting them from violence, criminalization, discrimination and stigma.

Protecting and defending human rights is a core element of American foreign policy.  As Secretary Pompeo has said, LGBTI persons must be free to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The United States stands for equal treatment of every person with respect, dignity, and equality under the law.

In support of the LGBTI community, President Trump has pledged to help end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world.  The U.S. Department of State has set up a working group led by our human rights bureau to come up with a strategy to achieve greater decriminalization of homosexuality in the roughly 70 countries that currently maintain such laws.

In March, the U.S. Department of State published its annual Human Rights Reports, which describe human rights abuses against LGBTI persons that have taken place in many countries around the world.  The U.S. holds governments accountable where these abuses occur, and we are making progress.

In the United States, there is also much work to be done.  The Trump Administration pledged to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. by 2030 by achieving a 75 percent reduction in new HIV infections by 2025, preventing approximately 250,000 total HIV infections.  The plan will leverage government expertise to further build upon critical scientific advances in HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had outsized impact on marginalized communities around the world, and the U.S. is adjusting current LGBTI programs to help members of these communities that are affected by the coronavirus.  Our programs provide emergency assistance, capacity building, security trainings, and legal assistance through the Global Equality Fund – a global public-private partnership dedicated to advancing the message that LGBTI persons are entitled to the same rights as everyone else.

The world has come a long way in advancing equality for the LGBTI community, but much work remains to be done.  The U.S. Embassy joins everyone throughout the Kingdom of Denmark celebrating the diversity of LGBTI persons and stands together with them in strengthening their rights around the world.

Happy Copenhagen Pride Week 2020!