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The U.S. Has Appointed Its First Ever Special Envoy for LGBT Rights

Feb 24, 2015

The U.S. appointed its first-ever special envoy on Monday to defend and promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The State Department named Randy Berry, a gay senior diplomat who previously served as U.S. consul general in the Netherlands, to the role, reports Reuters.

In his new role, Berry will work to reduce violence and discrimination against LGBT people around the world, including those in some 75 countries where homosexuality and same-sex relationships are criminalized.

"Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally — the heart and conscience of our diplomacy," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

Photos: 25 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox has used her growing celebrity as a star of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, to become an outspoken leader of the trans rights movement, addressing crowds of thousands at schools and other forums around the country.Jason Merritt—Getty Images
Laverne Cox
Lana Wachowski
Kye Allums
Bruce Jenner Vanity Fair cover Caitlyn transgender
Chelsea Manning Transgender
Brandon Teena
The electronic musician Wendy Carlos, formerly Walter, released Switched-On Bach in 1968, which won three Grammy awards and became one of the first classical albums to sell 500,000 copies. She went on to compose notable scores for films like A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Tron.
Since coming out publicly in a 2012 Rolling Stone article, the musician Laura Jane Grace has been a vocal advocate for trans acceptance. In 2014, her band Against Me! released the album Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
Carmen Carrera Transgender
Christine Jorgensen
Billy Tipton Transgender
The American public grew up knowing Bono as the daughter of entertainers Sonny and Cher, before he came out as a transgender man in 2009. Bono, who first came out as a lesbian in ’90s, has been an active LGBT rights advocate for decades, writing and making films about his experiences and using platforms like reality show Dancing With the Stars to talk about LGBT issues.
Candis Cayne
Lynn Conway
Caroline Cossey
Before she came out in 2014, the Serbian-born model was already blurring lines in the fashion world. As the androgynous male model and muse for big names like Marc Jacobs. In 2015, Pejic became the first transgender model to appear in American Vogue.
Lana Lawless Transgender
Fallon Fox
Beatie went public in 2008 as America’s first “pregnant father,” undergoing artificial insemination after his former wife proved infertile. The transgender man captured the nation’s attention after appearances on show’s such as Oprah, setting off cultural conversations about the social and legal status of transgender people in America. He has since had three children.
Janet Mock
Mike Penner
Renee Richards Transgender
Sylvia Rivera
Geena Rocero was already a successful model before she gave a viral 2014 TED talk in which she came out publicly as transgender. “All of us are put in boxes by our family, by our religion, by our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies,” she said. “Some people have the courage to break free.” Her advocacy organization, Gender Proud, works to empower transgender communities around the world.
Jenna Talackova
Laverne Cox has used her growing celebrity as a star of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Orange is the New Black
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Jason Merritt—Getty Images
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[Reuters]

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