Hello everyone. My name is Derek Westfall and I am the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Budapest. It is such an honor to join you here in Pécs for this important event. Your presence here today proves that nothing can stop people taking action in support of human rights, not prejudice, not discrimination, not even bad weather. On behalf of the US Embassy, I congratulate the organizers on a very successful Pride Festival. My colleagues and fellow diplomats, my family and I are proud to stand alongside you and celebrate the value that every human being brings to our society.
The United States believes strongly in advocating for the equality and fundamental human rights of all people. We believe that LGBTQI+ rights are human rights, and the United States is proud to stand in solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTQI+ community. We are proudly diverse in identity but unified in our shared commitment to the freedom and dignity of all. We will continue to stand up for equal rights everywhere, often in partnership with local activists and communities.
Celebrations like these, particularly outside of Budapest, are incredibly important for LGBTQI+ visibility, and we commend Pécs for its commitment to diversity and mutual respect. I salute your authenticity, your bravery, and your perseverance. We see you for who you are, deserving of dignity, respect, and support. Thank you for being here today. Thank you for your tireless efforts in support of Hungary and Hungarians. Thank you for the example you set for LGBTQ people around the world. And thank you very much for your attention (and patience with my bad Hungarian.) Happy Pride!