Budapest, Hungary - As part of the Department’s overall strategy to support the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, M. Andre Goodfriend, delivered opening remarks at the 5th European Transgender Council Meeting, a gathering of 200 transgender activists, allies, researchers, and funders, in Budapest, Hungary - the first such conference to take place in Central and Eastern Europe.

Goodfriend was joined by Deputy Chief of Mission of the Budapest Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bert van der Lingen.

In addressing the activists, Goodfriend emphasized that protecting the human rights of transgender persons is a central part of our broader human rights policy, and acknowledged that transgender persons are often marginalized within broader LGBT movements and organizations. He congratulated the activists on the success of their efforts thus far, and emphasized that holding the conference sent a strong signal that the human rights of transgender persons should be protected everywhere.

The Department remains committed to advancing the goals of the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, and to expanding its support, through the Global Equality Fund, embassy and consulate outreach, partnership with like-minded governments, corporations, and private foundations, and by continuing to learn from and partner with civil society organizations – such as Transgender Europe and TransVanilla - to promote and protect the human rights of transgender persons.

For more information on the Global Equality Fund, please see the Department’s Global Equality Fund website (http://www.state.gov/globalequality/).

For more information on the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/06/presidential-memorandum-international-initiatives-advance-human-rights-l.