Thursday, May 26, 2016

NYT Errs: Gay Citations in State Dept Reports Since 1991

When George H. W. Bush was president, three LGBT activists met in April 1991 with the State Department's analyst who wrote the annual human rights report because for the first time, it included a single gay reference about legalization of gay marriage in Denmark.

Representing ACT UP/DC, Margaret Cantrell and I, along with the late Barrett Brick of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organization, began the dialogue with the department leading to them greatly expanding gay and AIDS human rights advances and setbacks in the yearly surveys. Only gay reporter Rex Wockner covered the meeting and the Danish reference.

We and many other activists submitted documentation to the human rights desk at the department after that 1991 meeting and in 2005, when George W. Bush was in the White House, the annual reports included specific sections on gay and HIV concerns for the first time.

Today's Editorial Observer column in the New York Times by Ernesto Londono titled "America's Global Campaign for Gay Rights" is a gushing and glowing essay about the State Department's openly gay envoy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and issues, Randy Berry.

However, the column is marred by this error:

"The State Department’s annual human rights report recently began including a section on the state of L.G.B.T. rights in each country."

Nope, it's not a recent development at all and the New York Times needs to correct this error and point out the honest history about these annual human rights reports and LGBT persons.

I mention who was in the White House at the time of these significant advances on the global gay front because I believe they were ignored by Gay Inc organizations who were mum when the advances first happened, because LGBT executives are too tied to the Democratic Party and will do much to burnish the reputations of Democratic administrations, at the expense of the truth.

Finally, my friend Barrett Brick passed away in September 2013 and his obituary in the Washington Post highlighted the 1991 meeting at the State Department and his invaluable work to get LGBT and HIV references into the reports.

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