Statement on the Occasion of Pride Month by U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen L. Williams

As Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Suriname, I take great pleasure in recognizing Suriname’s Pride Month and congratulating the organizers on an impressive array of activities – from exhibits to film festivals to the parade this weekend.  The U.S. Embassy is proud to participate in, and support, all of these activities.

The U.S. celebrates Pride Month in June each year with marches, symposiums, and events across the nation.  Pride Month is an opportunity for us all to educate and elevate discussion about the issues confronting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and to celebrate their achievements.  The history of the LGBTI community in nations such as ours has been fraught with hazards – sometimes deadly – but today the LGBTI communities within our nations largely can associate freely, be visibly active, and advocate for change with the same protections under the law that others receive when it comes to assembly and association.

Although the situations in our nations have improved over the decades, there is still work to be done in the U.S. and Suriname and globally to promote full respect for the rights of LGBTI individuals and entities.  In the U.S., the annual Pride Month has become an opportunity for our government and elected officials to assess and take new steps and recognize ones taken during the previous year. For instance, in the U.S. this June, we launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality, so human beings can live their lives free from fear of imprisonment or execution just because of who they are.  And the development of acceptance of the LGBTI community is something the U.S. tracks globally each year in the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report.  This is consistent with the unalienable human rights we recognized at the founding of the U.S. – chief among them the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

LGBT Platform Suriname, the organizers of this year’s Pride Month festivities, highlights one important aspect of the movement with the theme of the month:  We Are Family.  And indeed, Pride Month is a reminder that no matter our differences, we stand together in compassion as one human family with shared values and ideals.  Happy Pride Month to all!