President Biden has named Jessica Stern to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons at the State Department.
The Special Envoy “will play a vital role in leading implementation of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World,” according to a statement released by the White House earlier this morning. “At a time when the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are increasingly threatened in all regions of the world, the Special Envoy will bring together like-minded governments, civil society organizations, corporations, and international organizations to uphold dignity and equality for all.”
The President will formally introduce Stern as the Special Envoy later today in remarks from the East Room commemorating Pride Month, The Hill reports.
Stern is the Executive Director of global advocacy group OutRight Action International. While her departure from the Organization “will be bittersweet,” Stern said in a statement released earlier today, “Serving as … executive director has been the honor of a lifetime. I can think of no organization that works with more integrity, more skillful staff, more motivated board members, more valued partners, or greater impact.”
Stern is only the second person to serve as the Special Envoy, a position that was created in 2015 under the Obama administration. It has remained vacant throughout the Trump presidency.
In a reversal from the previous administration, President Biden has taken a more vocal approach in advocating for the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights both nationally and internationally. Earlier this year, he issued executive orders to expand anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, reversed former President Trump’s ban on transgender persons serving in the military, and signed a memorandum promoting LGBTQ+ rights globally.
Later today, the President will also sign a bill into law commemorating the Pulse Nightclub as a national memorial.