The US has appointed a diplomat to act as its first envoy for LGBT rights. US Secretary of State John Kerry has appointed Randy W Berry, who is also gay, to represent the country and help to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world.
In a statement, Kerry explained the reasoning behind the appointment. "Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy."
There is still a long way to go for the world to fully accept LGBT people. Being gay is still illegal in 76 countries, where being gay can be punishable from fines to life imprisonment and forced psychiatric treatment. In countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia and Uganda, gay people have been forced into lives of secrecy, shame and fear.
Berry is charged with the responsbility of reducing the violence and persecution in countries where suffering is at its highest. According to Reuters, he will have access to the State Department's Global Equality Fund, a pot of money available to spearhead assistance of all kinds to people in other countries suffering experiencing unimaginable hardships.
It's a really positive move from the US, who will hopefully use their considerable political and financial muscle to help the rest of the world understand that no matter who we fuck, we're all the same.