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August 05, 2014

Protecting LGBT rights should be permanent part of U.S. foreign policy

An opinion piece by Human Rights First's Shawn Gaylord.

“It's normal that you were beaten because Russian people hate fags.”

“We should take you to the streets and stone you to death — how many like you are there?”

“This thing is an abomination. … We get information from sources interested in seeing the society cleansed.”

These quotes from Russia, India, and Nigeria, not delivered by homophobic thugs but by the actual police and government officials tasked with protecting their citizens, are chilling reminders of the struggles facing LGBT people around the world. Every day, we know that people are facing discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We know that gay men are being lured into situations where they will be beaten and humiliated on camera. We know that lesbians are being violated with corrective rape in order to “turn them straight.” And we know that transgender people live under the most extreme risk of violence at the hands of private citizens and even state authorities.