Saturday, December 10, 2011

Clinton's Speech and LGBT Rights in the USA

Like so many LGBT people in this country and around the world, I was amazed and astounded by Hillary Clinton's speech on international gay rights in Geneva in commemoration of Human Rights Day. To say that "gay rights are human rights, seems like a no-brainer but we live in a world where brains appear to be in short supply. Concepts like equality, dignity, freedom from harassment and violence are simple ones that are rarely applied to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population.

The basic fact that gayness is not a byproduct of Western culture, but a natural occurrence in every society, (including non-human groupings) is also just plain common sense. But still, we have never heard these truths put forward by a mainstream political representative before.

Of course, the bitter irony of this is that, in spite of all this international posturing, the United States is not a shining example of LGBT freedom or equality. We don't have legal marriage in most states and certainly nothing on a federal level. Obtaining healthcare for partners, death benefits after a partner's demise, freedom from discrimination in jobs and housing, freedom from harassment and violence on the street, freedom to live partnered with a person of a different nationality without IRS interference, all these supposed constitutional protections afforded our heterosexual sisters and brothers are rights we do not yet possess.

Nevertheless, with the true imperialistic aplomb, here is our Secretary of State preaching to the world. It would be preferable for the USA to put its own house in order before detailing and expounding on the untidy habits of others. But maybe this will set a precedent for advancement here at home. We can only hope.