Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Stating the obvious, with feeling

Add to the list of things old queers like me never expected to see --- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary speech before the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday in Geneva, stating explicitly that LGBT rights are human rights.

This was a speech was built on a directive issued earlier in the day by President Obama, also extraordinary, that the tools of U.S. diplomacy worldwide be used to “promote and protect” the rights of gay people.

Criminalization of sexual orientation or abuse of LGBT people --- actual, tolerated or ignored --- are unacceptable, the directive states, and Clinton expanded upon eloquently.

Obviously stating a goal and a philosophy differs from implementing either, and implementation will remain a challenge so long as LGBT people remain about the last suitable candidate for broadly-based scapegoating. But it was good to hear.

Both directive and speech were given in advance of Human Rights Day, which is Saturday, commemorating adoption of the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

That document grew out of the World War II- era horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime broadly known as the Holocaust during which by some estimates up to 17 million humans were systematically killed: 6 million Jews, 2.5 million Poles, other Slavic peoples, Soviets, Romanies (aka gypsies), LGBT people, religious dissidents, the mentally ill, people suffering from other disabilities, political opponents….

Apparently diplomats from nations where LGBT people are persecuted and abused were not amused by Clinton’s speech, nor were many U.S. Christians/Republicans, including Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and other usual suspects. I would imagine more GOP hopefuls, who miss those good old days when you could just kill or throw into jail folks you disagreed with, will be chiming in today.

1 comment:

Mark McVey said...

Well, Frank (I use your first name, thinking that is ok... If not, please chastise me for it!!!)...
I grew up in a very sheltered place... I had been told that a Black man in your neighborhood was equivalent to the well drying up, etc... I never actually met a "black man" until I moved to Denver, CO... There, I met several of said subject... Several of them are still my friends, to this day!
I really like your LGBTQ descriptor... I am very much straight, but I know for a fact, I am quite queer! Thinking out of the box has few rewards!!!