USAID Leads as the United States Strengthens Its Commitment to the LGBT Community

Huffington Post
By Peter D. Rosenstein
November 17, 2014

Last week the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) affirmed in a number of ways that ensuring the rights of LGBT individuals around the world is a part of their mission. At the Global Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and Inclusive Development held this year in the United States, there was representation from over 30 nations. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah keynoted the closing session of the conference with a strong commitment to the LGBT community. He said, “The United States is committed to seeing that children around the world who want to become doctors, entrepreneurs or even politicians don’t get sidelined.” He went on to say, “The consequences of discrimination are unacceptable, and the United States is pioneering efforts to ensure that our foreign policy is infused with the fight for the rights of LGBT individuals.” Other speakers included Lars Bo Moller, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Denmark, and Frederic Jensen, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of France.

A few days earlier the Williams Institute and USAID, partners in the LGBT Global Development Partnership, released a study showing that if a nation provides more legal rights to the LGBT community, it can result in a higher per capita GDP. One of the study’s lead authors, M.V. Lee Badgett, a Williams Distinguished Scholar and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, presented the findings of the study during a panel discussion at the University of California Washington Center.

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