Friday, April 18, 2014

Career diplomat discusses gay rights in foreign service

Al Kamen with the Washington Post had a nice piece in "In The Loop" on Richard Hoegland. Often, Kamen makes me cringe...he often has things to say about the State Department that are profoundly unflattering. Sometimes justified, sometimes not.

In my humble opinion.

Let's just say that when they tell us in A-100 to be careful what we say and do in public and to make sure it passes the Washington Post sniff test (would you want it in the Post), they mean would you want to see it in "In The Loop."

Ambassador Hoegland was one of the founding members of GLIFAA, Gays and Lesbians In Foreign Affairs Agencies. And he is one of the ones that made sure that people like me can do our jobs without worrying that we will lose our clearance over our sexual orientation.

The article says:

Hoagland recalled a time in the 1990s when his security clearance was taking a long time to be renewed, and he suspected it could have to do with concerns about him being gay. He went to the head of diplomatic security and threatened, “You have no reason to deny my security clearance. I want it on my desk in one week, or I’m going to The Washington Post.”

Ambassador Hoegland spoke Wednesday at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Pride Conference.

He said that he had his clearance one week after that fateful confrontation.

He also said that he wasn't there to rehash ancient history. He said:

Despite such advances made worldwide, much remains to be done to promote and protect the rights of LGBT persons. It is the duty of American diplomats to shape foreign policy to promote human rights for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, especially in the far reaches of those countries that prove most hostile towards them. We rely on our strong Department of State leadership to back these efforts, and ensure that our diplomatic corps prioritizes human rights for all.

It is certainly my priority.

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