Posted by: David Young, Legal Officer, United States Agency for International Development
On May 17, 2014, the world will observe International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons and communities across the globe. IDAHO promotes a world of tolerance, respect, and freedom regardless of people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The U.S. Government maintains a vision in which the human rights of LGBT persons are respected and they are able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution and violence. In this world, the human rights of LGBT persons are upheld; they are able to participate fully in democratic decision-making in their households, communities and countries; they have equal access to sustainable livelihoods, economic assets and resources; and they are not barred from accessing the basic education, health and other services that are enjoyed by their fellow citizens and that are essential for personal well-being and growth. LGBT persons and their allies can come together to advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
In Ukraine, the U.S. Government supports programs that counter abuse, discrimination and human rights violations targeting LGBT persons. For example, the U.S. Embassy provides small grants to LGBT non-governmental organizations and helps enhance the skills of LGBT leaders through training programs and exchanges in the United States. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) civil society activities work with non-governmental organizations, including those focused on LGBT concerns, to help them advocate for human rights. Additionally, a USAID media development project monitors and reports on media activities related to gender, and the ways in which LGBT persons and issues are portrayed in the media. USAID also supports programs that counter the trafficking in human beings, which includes support for LGBT persons who can be victims of trafficking.
Ukraine faces many challenges at the moment. Supporting the fight against homophobia and passing legislation to prevent discrimination against LGBT persons will not only improve the lives of Ukrainian LGBT citizens but will also strengthen Ukraine’s ability to meet these challenges by improving the business environment for foreign investment and furthering visa liberalization with the European Union. The U.S. Government looks forward to working with the Government of Ukraine and all Ukrainians to further protect the rights of LGBT persons.