First Ever White House Global LGBT Human Rights Forum

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The White House hosted its first ever forum to expand the rights of LGBT people around the world.

At the Global LGBT Human Rights Forum in June, leaders from the private sector, activists, faith leaders, and others were invited to participate in the discussion.

“The goal of the forum was to bring these various parties together to have a cross-sector conversation about this important issue,” said Ned Price, assistant press secretary and director for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council.

Topics of discussion at the forum ( included how to eliminate laws around the world that infringe on LGBT rights, responding to human rights cases, protecting refugee and asylum cases, and more. Part of the process is reporting on human rights issues around the world — the U.S. Department of State releases country reports on human rights practices annually.

“We discuss LGBT issues with a range of governments — from those that share our positions to those with whom we have profound disagreements,” Price said.

The Global Equity Fund, founded in 2011, has raised more than $12 million to protect human rights of LGBT people in more than 50 countries. The U.S. has also conducted training with the United Nations when dealing with LGBT refugees.

Keeping American LGBT travelers safe is important too, and the department has write ups online on every country, detailing information for travelers including local customs, religion, known scams, political upheaval, and the dos and don’t of being in the country. They also have a section devoted to LGBT rights, telling travelers how LGBT people are viewed in that country, what their rights are, and what to be careful of.

“There are a number of countries that provide legal protections to those who are LGBT. Unfortunately, there are others that do not, and a significant number that even criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations,” according to the department.

For example, the department explains that in Saudi Arabia, LGBT relations are criminalized and can be punishable by fines, jail time or death. On the other hand, in Italy travelers are told that there are no legal restrictions on LGBT people.

The department also has a page devoted to more specific information on travel documents for transgender people, LGBT parents, those with HIV, and other travel tips.


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