Good afternoon, everyone!
members of government, the community, and friends…
Thank you for welcoming me to Liechtenstein again to participate in this year’s Pride celebration. A heartfelt thanks to FLay for organizing today’s events. Thank you to all of you who are here today to support equality and LGBTQI+ rights – a cause that has shaped my entire professional life for the last 22 years.
Prior to my appointment as Ambassador, I worked as a philanthropist and LGBTQ rights activist at the Gill Foundation to create a world where all people are afforded equal opportunities regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
It is an honor, that I was chosen by POTUS to serve BECAUSE of that work – and that as Ambassador, I am able to remain steadfast in my mission, and personal commitment, to promote equality in the United States and abroad.
President Joe Biden and I became close friends when he was Vice-President and I saw him speak out in favor of same-sex marriage. His stance on the matter was important to me because I know that we all benefit from an inclusive society. Discrimination against the LGBTQ community does not just hurt the individual, it hurts everyone, because it limits our collective potential as a nation, and as a society. Discrimination in any form or under the guide of any name or law is bad. Period!
Despite many hard-fought wins toward equality, members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights. Lately, an onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQ legislation has been introduced and passed in the United States and several countries throughout the world – Uganda most recently. These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQ individuals in fear. All of this has been especially difficult for LGBTQ youth, 45 percent of whom seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year — a devastating reality that we must work to urgently address.
This month, we remind the LGBTQ community that they are loved and cherished. That we see and love them for who they are — deserving of dignity, respect, and support. Today and every day, we stand with LGBTQ individuals in the ongoing struggle against intolerance, discrimination, and injustice. We should also recognize the allies we have in this push for equality. Now, more than ever, the business community can be a vocal advocate as they seek to become a more welcoming employer, and a more welcoming place for customers.
It’s not until society as a whole realizes that our neighbors, our teachers, our politicians, our friends, our family are members of the LGBTQ community that we will see a societal shift. Once that change happens, we will begin to see true progress toward equality.
We are here today to celebrate Liechtenstein’s second Pride. Pride Month represents so much to so many people in the LGBTQ community. That is why we must remember what Pride is all about. Pride is dedicated to uplifting LGBTQ voices, celebrating LGBTQ culture, and supporting LGBTQ rights. However, for me, Pride is a celebration of love – the right to love yourself for who you are and the right to love whoever you choose.
Despite the general acknowledgement that love is love, around the globe there are still people who are not able to marry the person they love, there are people who live in fear of being their authentic selves. And that is unacceptable. That is my motivation and that lets me know there is more work to be done in the United States, in Liechtenstein, and around the world.
In the last 50+ years, the world has made great strides in supporting and promoting the rights of LGBTQ individuals. However, we cannot stop now. We must continue to fight, we must continue to find allies, and we must continue to spread love. Being here sends a clear message – Equality matters.
By celebrating Pride together today we are saying we are here, and we are proud to stand together. When a community sees that, when a country sees that, and when the world sees that, we will have achieved the enduring, lasting progress that each and every individual is entitled to. By standing together everyday, like we do today, I firmly believe those days will soon be at hand.
Thank you again for inviting me to attend the event today.
Happy Pride everyone!