President Biden on Thursday announced his administration will issue a memorandum that commits the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.
Biden in a speech he delivered at the State Department said “to reinvigorate our leadership on LGBTQI issues and to do it internationally, we will ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals included by combatting criminalization and promoting LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.” Biden did not provide a specific timeline as to when he would issue the memo, but he did reiterate his administration’s support of LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and around the world.
we defend equal rights of the people the world over, of women and girls, of
LGBTQ individuals, indigenous communities and people with disabilities, the
people of every ethnic background and religion, we also ensure that those
rights are protected for our own children here in America,” he said.
cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage,” added Biden.
among other things, said his administration will seek to raise the number of
refugees allowed into the U.S. each year to 125,000. Biden also reiterated
calls for Russia to release jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
President Obama in 2011 issued a presidential memorandum that directed agencies
that implement U.S. foreign policy to promote LGBTQ rights abroad.
of State John Kerry in 2015 created the position of special U.S. envoy for the
promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor. The position has not been filled since 2017.
of State Antony Blinken during his confirmation hearing pledged to raise the envoy to an
ambassador level position. Blinken also said he would “repudiate” the
Commission for Unalienable Rights — which sought to stress “natural laws and
natural rights” — that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in 2019.
The Trump administration in 2019 also tapped then-U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to lead an initiative that encouraged countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.
The State Department under
the previous White House, among other things, applauded
the 2018 India Supreme Court ruling that repealed the country’s colonial-era
sodomy law. Activists around the world were nevertheless highly critical of the
Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ rights record in the U.S. and of its overall
“Great to hear President
Joe Biden reaffirm the administration’s dedication to protecting the rights of
LGBTIQ people at home and abroad during today’s speech at the State
OutRight Action International. “We look forward to reading the
Out and Equal Workplace
Advocates in a statement said “America is at its best” when “it
the dignity and human rights of all as our North Star.” Council for Global
Equality Chair Mark Bromley made a similar point.
“We are still waiting to see the
text of the presidential memorandum that should be released momentarily,”
he told the Washington Blade. “But we were pleased to see that refugee and
LGBTQI concerns featured so prominently in the president’s first major foreign
policy speech. And it was important for him to recognize that there is ‘no
longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy’ and that when we
defend those rights abroad we are also making sure that they will be protected
‘for our own children.’”
Biden noted that ‘we’re a country that does big things,’ and we look forward to
working with the Biden administration in going all out to promote the rights of
LGBTQI persons globally,” added Bromley.
Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights