Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Maxim Anmeghichean of ILGA-Europe questions Hillary Clinton on gay rights

Maxim Anmeghichean is Moldovan of Armenian origin. He is a Programmes Director at ILGA-Europe (Europe’s main gay rights group).
After graduating from Moldovan State University with dual-degrees in journalism and communication sciences, Max has devoted all of his professional life to the LGBT movement. He led the team that created the LGBT movement in Moldova; developing it into a respected and powerful national and regional organization.

Nationally, he has served on the NGO Council, the National AIDS Network, and on the board of the National Youth Council. As an ILGA-Europe board member for the past three years, he chaired the committee to develop the organization's Eastern European strategy, lobbied before the Council of Europe and the European Union and was instrumental in fundraising efforts. In his new post, Max's priorities are to lobby for LGBT rights in Eastern Europe before the OSCE, Council of Europe and EU, develop programs for the transgender community, build advocacy capacity and, as if that's not enough to keep him busy, fundraising!
On 6 March 2009, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, participated in a meeting with young Europeans hosted by the European Parliament. Max was one of the participants.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pretty excited by the fact that Max was wearing a T-shirt saying “I love Hillary”, so she said she simply had to take a question from him. And Max used this chance perfectly by posing a question on how the US foreign policy in the field of sexual rights and LGBT issues is going to change under a new administration.

Whatever one may think of Hillary Clinton, wearing a T-shirt saying “I love Hillary” was a very smart move by Maxim Anmeghichean, to be noticed and heard. Well done, Max, you are an inspiration for many.

Max stood up and said: "My name is Max. I am from Moldova, and I am a gay rights activist. In seven countries in the world homosexuals are sentenced to death and many more to prison. A lot of gay men around the world die because of the HIV AIDS policies that the Bush administration had that did not allow to spend money on prevention for men who have sex with men. How do you see the foreign policy of the United States changing in the coming years in the field of human rights and in particular sexual rights and gay and lesbian rights?"

Ms Clinton said that it is unfortunate and unfair that discrimination against gay and lesbian people still exists around the word and sometimes is even condoned or protected by the states: "Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. And in particular, the persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something that we take very seriously. It is terribly unfortunate, as you just recited, that right now in unfortunately many places in the world violence against gays and lesbians, certainly discrimination and prejudice are not just occurring but condoned and protected.” She went on to say that it will be one of the priorities for the administration to tackle the issue and some changes in the policy on HIV prevention have already started. She also expressed a hope that she will witness the day when any type of discrimination, including on the ground of who one loves, will be abolished: "I can only hope that we all live long enough to see the end to this kind of discriminatory treatment and recognition that human rights are the inalienable rights of every person no matter who that person loves."

Financial Times Brussels Blog called Max’s Q&A with Hillary Clinton “the best moment” of the meeting. "Clinton’s performance was brilliantly executed in that she pitched her message at exactly the level the European audience wanted. They wanted to hear an American talk like a European, and that’s what they got."

Full coverage of this meeting is available on the European Parliament’s website (Max’s question stars around 11:10:43)

*photo - via Towleroad


Ani said...

Probably she was referring to this decision:

Obama Reverses Rules on U.S. Abortion Aid

President Obama repealed rules on Friday that restricted federal money for international organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas, sweeping aside a pillar of the social policy architecture of George W. Bush’s presidency.

These groups also pass out condoms and do a lot of educational work about sexual diseases. Although this move wasn't specifically directed toward LGBT groups, it is, as she said, a step toward HIV prevention.

artmika said...

Surely, a very welcome move by Obama. And today there was another, not drectly related to the topic, but welcome move on ending stem cell research ban. Let's hope that Obama will be consistent and will stick to all his promises.