To: Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union
Cc: The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America
Cc: The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
We are writing to you in coordination with other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) staff associations (EGALITE, GLIFAA, and UN-GLOBE). We are proud to have been able to work alongside your management teams to advance equality and non-discrimination across our workforces. We appreciate the progress that has been made, especially in recent years.
We have also been very much encouraged by your public commitment to LGBTI issues. The messages you personally have conveyed to the rest of the World on LGBTI rights have created, built on, and continued a momentum that will contribute to improving the life of oppressed persons across the world.
We know you recognize that despite the progress made, many challenges still remain. A top priority shared by our organizations is to see a world in which all employees – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – can serve in postings around the world. In order to make further progress, we are writing today to respectfully ask:
- that you direct your staff to partner with the staff of allied addressee organizations in sharing relevant information about which countries will openly accredit diplomatic staff, which countries you believe could be quietly persuaded by the allied organizations to accredit diplomatic staff, and which countries refuse to accredit diplomatic staff;
- that your organization, when appropriate and in alliance with the other addressees, enforce reciprocity against nations which refuse to accredit our spouses and our children. For each of our spouses (regardless of gender or sexual orientation) or children who are denied a proper visa, so too do we ask that our government deny one visa to a spouse or child of a diplomat from the refusing nation;
- when regional management centres are established, we ask that they only be placed in countries that have agreed in writing to give full diplomatic privileges to our LGBTI families;
- that you issue a clear statement stating that the denial of visas for the spouses of LGBTI staff is discriminatory and will not be accepted.
Our families have suffered too long under the separate and unequal nomenclature of “gay/lesbian families“. Indeed, our families are families – nothing more and nothing less – and they deserve to be called as such. Offering reciprocity by offering to give visas to a “gay/lesbian spouse” of an openly homophobic nation if they only agree to recognize our “gay/lesbian spouses” has become an unrealistic and meaningless act; it is obvious that these nations are making no such applications. We ask that you make a clear statement that your reciprocity will apply equally to all spouses, regardless of sexual orientation.
All of our associations have been proud to partner with you, and all of our associations believe that, in alliance, our countries and organizations will achieve even more progress in the years to come. We are confident that today’s LGBTI youth who dream of one day serving your organization will be able to look back with pride at what you have achieved.
We will be very glad to meet with you or your designated staff to discuss the above in more detail.
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