International LGBT Activists Gather In Montevideo, Announce Formation Of Equal Rights Coalition

"We have to act to improve the standing of the LGBT community in the world," said Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders.

More than 200 activists and government officials have gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay, to address LGBT issues and announce the formation of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), a new organization dedicated to furthering equality around the world.

"The horrific attack in Orlando has shown more than ever the vulnerability that we urgently need to deal with," said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, one of the attendees. "In many places in the world, LGBT rights are under pressure and we have to act to improve the standing of the LGBT community in the world."

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, had hoped to attend but was called away. She sent a video addressing the conference.

"Being an advocate for LGBTI rights these days can feel almost schizophrenic," said Power. "In elections last month in the Philippines elected both a congressman who called gay people 'worse than animals' and the country's first ever transgender representative."

It's not enough to look outward for areas of improvement—member of the ERC must address inequality at home, said Power.

In addition to the U.S, other member states in the coalition include France, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, Montenegro, Belgium, Germany and Estonia with more to follow.

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