Uruguay is the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBT rights around the world.
The small South American nation that borders Brazil and Argentina will join Chile, France, Germany, Sweden and other countries that contribute to the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the State Department manages with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The initiative has given more than $17 million to LGBT advocacy groups since its 2011 launch.
The State Department, the Uruguayan government and the Washington-based Council for Global Equality are scheduled to formally announce Uruguay’s participation in the Global Equality Fund on Nov. 18 during a reception at the Uruguay Embassy in Northwest D.C. Uruguay Ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Gianelli, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry and Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley are among those who are expected to attend the event.
Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry in Uruguay since 2013. Transgender people are also able to legally change their gender in the South American country without surgery.
Uruguay co-sponsored a resolution against anti-LGBT discrimination and violence that the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted in September 2014.
Uruguay is among the Latin American countries that Berry visited in June. The Uruguayan government in April 2016 will host an LGBT rights conference that is expected to draw advocates from around the world.
“It is within this context that Uruguay has decided to join the Global Equality Fund, recognizing it as a valuable tool in the promotion and protection of LGBTI rights around the world,” the Uruguay Embassy in the U.S. told the Washington Blade on Friday in a statement.
The Uruguay Embassy in the U.S. also noted Chile’s participation in the Global Equality Fund as evidence of Latin America’s growing role in the promotion of LGBT rights around the world.
“In the wider framework of the protection of these people’s rights as a fundamental element for the development of these communities, Uruguay considers the region’s strength (on these issues) as key,” it told the Blade. “In this sense, we will seek to promote and expand the participation of other countries of the region in the Global Equality Fund.”