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Ambassador Brewer Remarks at National Coming Out Day
Ambassador Brewer Remarks at National Coming Out Day Event Wednesday, October 11, 3:00 PM American Corner

Ambassador Brewer Remarks at National Coming Out Day

October 12, 2023

Ambassador Brewer Remarks at National Coming Out Day

Lumela, kaofela!

Please allow me to pay my respects to:

His Majesty King Letsie III,

The Right Honorable the Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane,

Distinguished Guests,

All protocols observed.


I am honored to join you today to support human rights, equality, and diversity, as we celebrate National Coming Out Day in honor of the LGBTQI+ community.  When activists created this idea in 1988, urging people to “come out,” I can’t imagine they knew how far their idea would spread.  When we use the term “come out,” we mean when a person shares their gender identity, or their sexuality, or both. The issue of LGBTQI+ rights unites us all in our shared humanity.  In our ever-changing world, it is crucial to recognize and celebrate the beauty of diversity. The United States has been on our own journey towards greater inclusivity and acceptance. We believe that these ideals would benefit all people across the globe. The U.S. Constitution emphasizes the principles of equality, liberty, and justice for all. These principles have guided us through our history and continue to shape our nation.  At the same time, we understand that the journey towards LGBTQI+ rights is complex, different for each society and culture.

Lesotho, like any country, has its own set of unique challenges and successes in embracing diversity. I am grateful that we have leaders from the NGO Matrix here to share their views on these ideas in Lesotho. We hope that, through dialogue and understanding, we can all live in a future where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live a life free from discrimination and prejudice. Diversity is a source of strength, not a weakness! It enriches our communities, broadens our perspectives, and fosters innovation. It is in the unique experiences, talents, and backgrounds of each person that creates our collective strength as a society.  We only harm ourselves by denying contributions from LGBTQI+ individuals. They are an integral part of this diversity. Embracing LGBTQI+ rights is not a threat to our cultural values or traditions; in fact, it can enhance them. LGBTQI+ rights are not a Western imposition but a universal declaration that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve dignity, respect, and the full protection of the law. We call on all nations to end violence, discrimination, and persecution based on who people love or how they identify.

In the United States, we have seen the transformative power of acceptance and inclusivity. Our LGBTQI+ community has made significant strides towards equality, but the journey is far from over. We also recognize that progress does not happen overnight. It requires collaboration between governments, civil society, and individuals like you to keep your elected officials accountable. That is the power of democracy!  Each of you has the power to make a difference in your communities, workplaces, and families.  By speaking out against discrimination and advocating for change, you can be catalysts for progress.

I am honored to share with you the stories of LGBTQI+ individuals who have made a difference in the United States and around the world.  People like Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, who fought tirelessly for LGBTQI+ rights and paved the way for future generations. People like Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender activist who played a crucial role in the early LGBTQI+ rights movement.  A more recent example is Senator Laphonza Butler who made history just last week as the first Black openly lesbian U.S. senator.  These individuals remind us that change is possible, even in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, let us celebrate diversity and embrace LGBTQI+ rights as an essential part of our shared journey towards a more just and inclusive world.  I hope that, as we gather here today, we can reflect on the importance of being ourselves and extending the same privilege to others. Thank you for the invitation. I hope you have productive conversations as you learn more about the origin of National Coming Out Day.  Perhaps some brave individuals will share their personal coming out stories. Please know that the U.S. Embassy is a strong ally.  We are always open to learning ways we can provide support and amplify voices for those who may otherwise go unheard.

Thank you again.