Home secretary and equalities minister Theresa May has released a message in support of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
Mrs May, who was appointed to the roles last week in the coalition government, has faced some criticism of her voting record on gay issues.
Today, she promised the new government would tackle homophobic bullying and pressure countries with poor human rights records to improve their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
Mrs May said: “This government is committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone and supports equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
“This means supporting civil partnerships, tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs, changing the law regarding historic convictions for consensual gay sex and using our international influence to put pressure on countries where LGB&T people are persecuted.
“These commitments show our determination to tear down the barriers that continue to hold people back.”
Today’s date marks 20 years since the World Health Organisation took the decision to de-list homosexuality as a mental disorder. IDAHO began in 2004 and encourages countries across the world to hold events to highlight the dangers of homophobia.
Mrs May’s voting record shows she has voted against many gay rights measures, including allowing gay couples to adopt jointly and equalising the age of consent.
In 2004, like much of the Conservative front bench, she did vote in favour of civil partnerships.
More than 55,000 people have joined a Facebook group calling on new prime minister David Cameron to strip her of her responsibility for equality.