Good Morning everyone! Thank you members of Hatutan, Codiva and UmaAmerika for arranging this and thanks to everyone for joining this discussion today.
I’m very glad to see that young Timorese are working on the issue of equal rights for all. My fellow Americans in the United States right now are facing the inequalities that still exist in our society. We as a nation are open about our shortcomings and recognize that we can still improve. I believe that is one of our strengths. During this month of Pride, we Americans have something to celebrate.
The Civil Rights Act, that Martin Luther King Jr fought for, was just extended to guarantee the rights of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. This is one of the Supreme Court’s strongest decisions on the civil rights of gay and transgender individuals. Another significant ruling was in 2015 when the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. This recent progress in the United States was possible because the LGBTQI community organized, protested and changed the minds of their fellow Americans. This type of change could happen because of the democratic values and freedoms that our countries share. That gives me hope. I encourage you all to remain engaged on these issues of equality. The work of our friends at Hatutan, Codiva and other organizations is creating a better Timor-Leste for all. I’ve been proud to attend Dili’s past two Pride Parades. They have set an example in the region of how to make societies more inclusive.
Keep up the good work!