US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton has formally agreed to accept WorldPride’s “World LGBT Award” as the event comes to London this summer.
Mrs Clinton will be honoured for her “outstanding contributions” to gay and transgender rights globally.
Pride London will host the WorldPride event this year, with a festival taking place from 23 June to 8 July and a main parade on Saturday 7 July.
The award will be presented at the World Pride Gala Dinner, ‘Dine-with-Pride’, a black-tie fundraiser for Pride London.
The event is due to be held on Thursday 5 July 2012 at a five-star hotel in London, Mrs Clinton’s presence at the fundraiser is as yet unconfirmed.
The event’s theme this year of ‘Today London, tomorrow the world’ highlights efforts to decriminalise homosexuality worldwide and secure equal rights.
The co-presenters of the “World LGBT Award” are the Kaleidoscope Trust.
Dr. Patrick Williams, Chair of Pride London said: “I am thrilled that Secretary Clinton has decided to accept our award. This sends a powerful message to the world, that gay rights are indeed human rights and that global leaders will not stand back and allow human beings to be punished simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
“Moreover, it is an important message, one of hope, to our LGBT brothers and sisters in countries that still criminalise homosexuality.
“A message that we are listening, watching; and that we will not stop campaigning for their rights until they are treated equally and can live without the fear that their own government will punish them purely because they may love people of their own gender.”
Referring to the case of four men due to be hanged on sodomy charges, Dr Williams added: “This is particularly poignant, as four innocent young gay men in Iran are due to be murdered by their government, one supposedly set up to protect them – purely because they choose to love another human being. Iran aside, a staggering 41 countries out of 53 in our very own Commonwealth of Nations criminalise being LGBT and we have a responsibility beyond our borders to end this atrocity, particularly in the year Britain hosts WorldPride.”
Following the US’ declaration that its agencies would challenge the criminalisation of gay acts and LGBT identity overseas, Ms Clinton spoke to the UN in December urging world leaders to be “on the right side of history”.
She said: “Some seem to believe it is a western phenomenon and therefore people outside the west have grounds to reject it.
“Well, in reality gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world.
“They are all ages, all races, all faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes.
“Whether we know it, whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbours.
“Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality.”
The State Department subsequently set extracts of the speech to music with a montage of images of gay couples, and pro-gay demonstrations around the world.
Tickets to the Dine with Pride event are £250 each..