Statement by U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark Carla Sands and The Embassy of the United States of America

Statement by U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark Carla Sands and

The Embassy of the United States of America

August 8, 2018

We are disappointed to learn that some members of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) organizations have declined to attend the Pride reception hosted by the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The U.S. Department of State has and will continue to advance and advocate for the human rights and equal rights of LGBTI persons and the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has made its support for and participation in Pride activities a cornerstone of its engagement over the years.  This has not changed. Our doors have been open to the LGBTI community and we remain open to dialogue in pursuit of our shared objectives, including equal rights and equal opportunity for all.

Promoting, protecting, and advancing human rights, including the rights of LGBTI persons, has long been and continues to remain the policy of the United States Government. Our nation was founded on the bedrock principle that we are all created equal – and that every person is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Around the world, far too many governments continue to arrest and abuse their citizens simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Fear and bigotry are enshrined in laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct in more than 70 countries. In some, being LGBTI is punishable by death. The United States firmly opposes criminalization, violence and serious acts of discrimination such as in housing, employment and government services, directed against LGBTI persons. We use public and private diplomacy to raise human rights concerns, provide emergency assistance to people at risk, and impose visa restrictions and economic sanctions against those who persecute them. The United States administers the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership built on its Partners’ shared commitment to advancing freedom, equality, and dignity for all. Through the Global Equality Fund, like-minded governments, foundations, and corporations provide support to civil society organizations working to promote the inclusion of and respect for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics. We recognize that protecting and respecting human rights is the responsibility of all governments, and that the human rights of LGBTI persons are not different or separate from the human rights of anyone else. Defending the human rights of LGBTI persons is an important part of our shared values and we must never lose sight of that.

In many parts of the world, LGBTI individuals and their supporters continue to face violence, arrest, harassment and intimidation for standing up for their human rights, participating in peaceful marches and rallies, expressing their views, and simply being who they are. LGBTI persons – like all persons – must be free to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, without fear of reprisal. As Americans, we place a high value on these rights and freedoms, which all persons deserve to enjoy fully and equally.  The United States stands firmly with the people of Denmark as they exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and we look forward to continuing the open and honest dialogue we have developed over the years. We wish everyone a safe and happy Pride here in Copenhagen!