WASHINGTON (CBS SF) — The U.S. has announced its first-ever diplomat in charge of promoting and defending the rights of homosexuals and transgender people overseas.

Veteran Foreign Service officer Randy W. Berry was appointed as the State Department’s LGBT Human Rights Envoy, according to a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry.

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“It’s time to assert the equality and dignity of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Kerry. “And with Randy helping to lead our efforts, I am confident that’s exactly what we can and will do.”

Berry, who most recently served as Consul General in Amsterdam, has also had postings in Bangladesh, Egypt, New Zealand, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda during his 12-year diplomatic career.

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He is a Colorado native and graduate of Bethany College in Kansas, and was also a Rotary Scholar at the University of Adelaide, Australia.