Ambassador Victoria Reggie Kennedy
June 9, 2022
Welcome and happy Vienna Pride and Pride Month!
I’m Vicki Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Austria. I’m so delighted to have you here to celebrate such an important occasion.
I’m pleased that several members of Diplomats for Equality are here with us today. Welcome to all of you and thanks for your ongoing collaboration.
We’re also pleased to have Katharina Kacerovsky-Strobl and her team from Stonewall, and Ann-Sophie Otte from HOSI Vienna, here with us tonight. Thank you, Katharina, and Ann-Sophie, for your leadership and all your good work. Our Embassy is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to protect basic human rights and freedom for the LGBTQI+ community.
I’m also pleased to recognize my colleagues who serve on our Tri-Mission Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Accessibility Council. Thank you for your valuable work in helping us to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
The United States and Austria have made great strides toward true equality for LGBTQI+ persons, but, as you know better than anyone, there’s always more work to do. In many countries, LGBTQI+ individuals and their supporters can face harassment, intimidation, arrest, and even violence for standing up for their human rights; for participating in peaceful marches and rallies; and for expressing their personal and political views.
We want you to know that the United States and President Biden are your allies in the fight for justice and equality. And my whole team and I, personally, are allies in this fight. It is by working together that we’ll make the progress you deserve.
Dignity and equality for all persons are bedrock principles of our democracy and our diplomacy. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights, and we will continue to advance that principle in capitals around the world.
Finally, I note that HOSI Vienna, Stonewall, and many other Austrian NGOs have taken a strong position against the Russian war in Ukraine and Russia’s discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons. I assure you, the United States stands with you in this fight.
Thank you all for joining us today. And happy Pride, once again!
I’d now like to invite Katharina, followed by Ann-Sophie, to say a few words.