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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

A Developing Narrative: LGBT Issues in the United States

June 3, 2012

Date: 06/06/2012 Location: Philadelphia, PA Description: Foreign media visit the University of Pennsylvania's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center as part of a reporting tour to look at LGBT issues in the U.S.  - State Dept ImageJune 3 - 10, 2012; Washington, DC; Annapolis, MD; Philadelphia, PA; and New York, NY
Contacts: Washington FPC Media Relations Officer Dick Custin - 202-504-6320, email:; New York FPC Media Relations Officer Ariel Howard - 646-282-2832, email:

The Foreign Press Center hosted a group of 19 print, radio and online journalists on a foreign reporting tour on the theme of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues in the U.S. In Washington, media met with State Department officials who gave the foundation for U.S. foreign policy on LGBT rights; at the Pentagon, gay military officers discussed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' from a personal perspective and LGBT officers from GLIFAA and Outserv shared their personal experiences with the group.

A visit to Annapolis to the Maryland State House was the backdrop for a discussion with legislators on same-sex marriage.  In Philadelphia, foreign media met with members of PFLAG; heard from noted University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Tobias Wolff, LGBT Policy Chair for Obama's 2008 campaign, and visited the university's LGBT Center to learn what types of support are available to students.

In New York City, representatives from the "It Gets Better" campaign and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) discussed how those operations fight hate crimes and bullying.  One of the most dramatic and poignant meetings was at the Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest shelter for homeless LGBT youth and refugees, where young people described how their families rejected them for being gay and how they are turning their lives around - proff that it does get better.