WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:

“LGBT equality is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time.  Many years of legal and social struggle have led to today’s progress for our LGBT friends, family, and neighbors.  No one should have to face discrimination simply because of who they love. 

“Yet around the world—and too often here in the United States—LGBT individuals are the targets of hatred, bigotry, and harassment.  Worse, some foreign governments have criminalized LGBT communities altogether.  As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the United States and our partners across the globe must reaffirm our commitment to advancing LGBT rights and putting an end to discrimination.  As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, ‘LGBT rights are human rights.’  We need to continue the hard work so that this conviction is reflected in our own policies here at home and as we advance American interests and values abroad.”


On legislative matters, Rep. Engel tirelessly fights to protect equal rights for LGBT Americans and protection of this community abroad.  Most recently, Rep. Engel co-sponsored H.Res.263, which supports the goals and ideas of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia which is observed annually on May 17th.  In 1996, Rep. Engel voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and is a proud cosponsor of the Equality Act, the landmark LGBT nondiscrimination legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the civil rights laws already built into the Federal code.