Clinton Advocates ‘Gay Rights Are Human Rights’ in Geneva

December 7, 2011


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered quite possibly the speech of her career yesterday in Geneva. The 30-minute address called on delegates gathered at the European headquarters of the United Nations to unite in the global fight against discrimination in the LGBT community.  The Human Rights Day speech was thought to have been on Syria, but Clinton surprised attendees with the provocative step-change in topic.

Almost immediately, videos of the speech went viral. To date, a re-post of the transcript and video on the Huffington Post has garnered 10,000 likes on Facebook alone – shared eagerly among straight and LGBT audiences overnight. The speech has now been picked up by virtually every major news publication around the globe. Clinton's speech was also trending yesterday on Twitter and the speech (and reposts) continue to garner views on YouTube.

Excerpt (source: Huffington Post):

‘When we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won't suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on. But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message.' – US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

US pundits speculate whether or not this was a PR stunt – or if it will have any bearing at all – when considering the upcoming presidential election. Still, others criticise the foreign call-to-arms when it is well-known debate about gay marriage rights ‘back home' continues.

Abroad, the dialogue is quite different. True, some countries will join the call to arms immediately while it will be a long slog for others. Still, if the lengthy standing ovation Clinton received on Tuesday is any indication, it is that countries outside of the western –sphere are listening. A very important first step for those wishing for their voices to be heard.

A full transcript of the speech and video can be found here.