U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power addressed a United Nations conference on the integration of LGBTI rights into foreign policy last week in Uruguay.
The “I” in the LGBTI acronym stands for intersex.
In her remarks to the conference, Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said advocating for LGBTBI rights in 2016 “can feel almost schizophrenic.” She noted 50 countries worldwide now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, however, there are 70 more criminalizing consensual same-sex conduct.
“Governments do not have to choose between advancing LGBTI rights within their own countries and around the world. We can and must do both,” Power said.
Referencing the gains made in the United States where same-sex marriage is now legal and openly LGBT individuals can serve in the U.S. military, Power also listed incidents of concern. In Brazil, she said, there is approximately one LGBTI killing per day. This stat has not changed since 2012, Power said.
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In the Philippines, Power’s schizophrenic comment played out in the election of a senator who described gay people as “worse than animals” along with the election of the southeastern Asian country’s first transgender representative.
On transgender issues, Power said America needed to counter an alarming statistic showing 40 percent of trans people attempt suicide – far above the national average. Power said the U.N. has the necessary tools to make it happen.
“First, we must be willing to use all the tools in our toolkit to shift the policies and attitudes of the governments that condone or even fuel discrimination and violence against LGBTI people,” Power said.