On June 25, 2021, President Joe Biden announced his appointment of Jessica Stern, the Executive Director of Channel grantee partner OutRight Action International (OutRight), to be the U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons at the Department of State.
President Biden formally announced the appointment in the context of a Pride Event at the White House. The Special Envoy position is the most senior position in US foreign policy dedicated to LGBTQI equality.
Stern became OutRight’s Executive Eirector in 2012 and has overseen “a period of extraordinary growth for OutRight.” During Stern’s leadership, OutRight underwent “significant transformation and achieved meaningful and lasting impact.” OutRight’s full statement on Stern’s appointment and forthcoming departure from OutRight can be read here.
The White House highlights Stern’s accomplishments in the official statement regarding her appointment: “At OutRight, she has supported the legal registration of LGBTIQ organizations globally, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, expanded the UN General Assembly resolution to include gender identity, and co-founded the UN LGBTI Core Group. She has provided expert opinions to governments globally, regional human rights institutions, and UN mechanisms, including UN Women where she serves as a member of multiple leadership bodies. Her writing has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court in its seminal judgment decriminalizing same-sex relations and been featured in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (2019). She is frequently quoted by the media, including by The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, BBC News, and The Guardian. She is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs.”