Former US LGBTI envoy confirmed as next ambassador to Nepal

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate on Thursday by a voice vote confirmed Randy Berry as the next U.S. ambassador to Nepal.

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015 named Berry, a career Foreign Service officer who is openly gay, as the first special U.S. envoy to promote LGBTI rights abroad.

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Canada apologizes to victims of anti-LGBT government laws, policies

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under the country’s anti-LGBT laws and policies.

Trudeau — who spoke in the Canadian House of Commons — formally apologized to Canadians who were convicted of “gross indecency” before the country decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations in 1969. He also announced the introduction of a bill that would expunge the criminal records of those who were prosecuted under the law.

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Justin Trudeau to formally apologize for ‘gross indecency’ convictions

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday announced his government will formally apologize to those who were convicted of “gross indecency” before the country decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations.

He wrote on his Facebook page that his government on Nov. 28 “will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House (of Commons) — for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion.” The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported Trudeau will also formally apologize to Canadians who were fired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the country’s military and civil service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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LGBT envoy to remain in State Department overhaul

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday indicated the special U.S. envoy for the human rights of LGBT and intersex people will remain in place under a State Department overhaul.

Tillerson in a letter to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the position “will be retained and continue to be organized under the” State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Tillerson wrote the position “will continue to be held by a deputy assistant secretary.”

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John Kerry sorry for past State Department discrimination against gays

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – Secretary of State John Kerry is publicly apologizing for the State Department’s institutional discrimination in the past against gay and lesbian diplomats.

In a statement, Kerry says discrimination suffered by homosexual State Department workers has gone on since the 1940s. He says denying some people jobs and forcing diplomats out of the foreign service was “wrong then” and “wrong today.”

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Maryland senator seeks apology for fired workers in ‘lavender scare’

By : Wire Report
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BALTIMORE (AP) – Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin wants Secretary of State John Kerry to formally apologize to hundreds of federal workers who were fired decades ago because of their perceived sexual orientation.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Democratic senator said in a letter to Kerry on Nov. 29 that it’s time for the country to apologize for the so-called “lavender scare.”

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US names 1st global envoy for LGBT rights

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States named its first international envoy for gay rights Feb. 23, tasking a veteran diplomat with leading U.S. efforts to fight violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals overseas.

Randy Berry, currently the consul general in the Netherlands, will promote human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, Secretary of State John Kerry said. A longtime foreign service officer, Berry has served at U.S. posts in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, and speaks Spanish and Arabic.

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Anti-gay Nigerian laws also jeopardize those diagnosed with AIDS

By : Wire Report
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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Local and international groups fighting AIDS warned on Jan. 14 that a new Nigerian law criminalizing same-sex marriage and gay organizations will jeopardize the fight against the deadly disease.

Human rights activists reported that dozens of gay men were being arrested in northern Nigeria in an apparent response to the law. The United States, Britain and Canada condemned the law, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that it “dangerously restricts freedom” of expression and association of all Nigerians.

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Florida leaders concerned for safety of LGBT athletes at 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia

By : Staff Report
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As the hate speech against gays escalates in Russia, the fear of reprisal during the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics against athletes and spectators has increased.

Safety concerns have led four Florida Congressional Democrats to sign their names to a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. The letter, dated Aug. 2, is signed by nearly 90 members of the U.S. Senate and House including: Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings of Fort Lauderdale, Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, and Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen of Miami.

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