December 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay man sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam

Ted Osius, gay news, Washington Blade

Clayton Bond and Ted Osius with their son, Tabo (Photo by David Evans)

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday swore in Ted Osius as the next U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.

Osius’ husband, Clayton Bond, their 11-month-old son Tabo and California Congressman Alan Lowenthal are among those who attended the ceremony that took place at the State Department in Northwest D.C.

Osius’ mother also attended.

“Today marks a dream come true for my family and me,” said Osius. “We are deeply grateful for all the support we have received, especially from those of you here today. I am humbled by the trust placed in me by our president and secretary of state.”

Osius, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., joined the foreign service in 1989.

He spent the majority of his career in Asia.

Osius was among the first American diplomats to work in Vietnam after the U.S. normalized relations with the country in 1995. His most recent overseas post was at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia where he was deputy director of mission from 2009-2012.

Osius co-founded Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies in 1992.

“22 years ago when we founded GLIFAA to end discrimination against LGBT personnel, we had to keep our member list secret or risk losing our jobs,” said Osius after Kerry swore him in. “10 years ago when I met Clayton at a GLIFAA meeting, we didn’t expect that we could marry, raise children, or represent our country at the highest levels.”

Osius praised Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, along with former Secretary of States Madeleine Albright and Hilary Clinton during his speech for their support of LGBT members of the foreign service.

“You are our heroes,” said Osius.

Kerry noted Osius will be the first openly gay American ambassador in East Asia.

“Not long ago, that would have literally been impossible,” said Kerry. “When Ted first joined the foreign service, being open about who you love was grounds for having your security clearance yanked. Today, the LGBT community is embraced by the foreign service and well beyond.”

Osius is the seventh openly gay person that Obama has nominated to serve as an American ambassador.

The U.S. Senate last year confirmed U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos and U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford.

David Huebner was the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from 2009 to January. Richard Hoagland was the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan from 2009-2011.

Osius is scheduled to formally present his ambassadorial credentials to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on Dec. 29.

“[Today] was an exciting day,” Osius told the Washington Blade after his swearing in.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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