Meet Randy Berry, U.S. special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons

Veteran diplomat Randy Berry is accustomed to taking on challenges. And his latest assignment is one particularly close to his heart.

Berry was recently appointed as the first U.S. special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) persons.

An openly gay, married father of two young children, Berry occupies a unique position created by the U.S. Department of State to underscore the importance of respect for LGBTI rights worldwide. As Secretary of State John Kerry notes, Berry will travel the globe, working with governments, civic groups and businesses to spread the word that “it’s time to assert the equality and dignity of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

There isn’t a special category of rights for LGBTI persons, Berry explains: “It’s just that they are entitled to the same rights as anyone else.”

In many places, LGBTI people face violence and discrimination — and same-sex conduct is criminalized in nearly 80 countries. Berry is committed to his mission not only because “promoting the human rights of all persons, everywhere, including LGBTI persons” is a U.S. foreign policy priority, but also because “it’s the right thing to do.”

Follow Berry on Twitter as he works to promote the rights of LGBTI people worldwide.