President Barack Obama spoke out against homophobia to observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and called on nations around the world to "do better."
President Obama said in a statement posted to the White House website:
Our nation is committed to the principle that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. Advancing this goal has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and I am proud that my Administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world. I am also proud of the great strides that our nation has made at home in recent years, including that we now have marriage equality as a result of last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision.
At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad. In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination, and violence. All nations and all communities can, and must, do better. Fortunately, human rights champions and good citizens around the world continue to strive towards this goal every day by lifting up the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights. The United States honors their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for human dignity.
Obama's statement comes in the midst of a national controversy over whether transgender people can use the public restroom of the gender they identify after North Carolina passed a law banning the practice. The Department of Justice issued a strong statement against the law and warned that gender discrimination could lead federal education funds being withheld.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, according to the DOJ website.
But some Republican politicians don't see it that way.
“JFK wanted to send a man to the moon. Obama wants to send a man to the women's restroom. We must get our country back on track,” tweeted Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas.