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Inclusive Rights-Based Foreign Policy Promotes ‘Health And Wellness For All’

“In 2011, in recognition of the importance of an inclusive rights-based foreign policy, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum that raised [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)] rights to the status of a foreign policy priority,” Joseph Tucker of the UNC Project-China, and Deborah von Zinkernagel and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby of the U.S. Office of Global Health Diplomacy write in a Lancet opinion piece. “An inclusive rights-based foreign policy can improve the health and wellbeing of LGBT communities” because it “nurtures an environment that is conducive to stable, healthy same-sex partnerships”; “decreases barriers for HIV-infected LGBT individuals to receive antiretroviral therapy”; and “prioritizes the safety of LGBT individuals,” they write.

Though the “inclusive foreign policy agenda has … elicited criticism,” the authors state it “is gaining traction and could generate considerable health benefits” and note, “LGBT rights are human rights.” While “an inclusive foreign policy has advanced most rapidly in high-income nations where discrimination and violence are less common, 29 U.S. states and 12 European countries still have laws that discriminate against homosexual individuals,” the authors write, concluding, “Advancement of LGBT rights is about embracing health and wellness for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender” (8/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.