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Biden pilfers Trump’s historic commitment to decriminalize homosexuality abroad

Biden’s memorandum marks the second time the new president has hijacked a Trump-era policy regarding LGBTs.



In a memorandum signed Thursday evening President Joe Biden committed the United States to protect LGBT rights internationally.

The executive note, titled, “Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World” directs American agencies operating abroad “to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons,” reports NBC News.

“Around the globe, including here at home, brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) activists are fighting for equal protection under the law, freedom from violence, and recognition of their fundamental human rights,” the memo reads. “The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle — speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values. It shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”

Biden’s former boss, President Barack Obama, signed a memorandum in 2011 addressing LGBT rights globally but stopped short at establishing a plan to decriminalize homosexuality in the roughly 70 nations where it is still punishable by prison or death.

In September 2019, President Trump gave a speech before the United Nations calling for a global initiative to “decriminalize homosexuality in more than 70 countries where it remains illegal.”

The Trump administration then launched a historic global campaign “to end the criminalization of homosexuality,” as dozens of nations still execute or imprison people for their sexuality. Led by then-Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the Trump Administration worked with other LGBT activists around Europe to discuss a “specific push” to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide and encouraged other countries to implement safe laws for the LGBT community.

After the initiative was announced, Sudan eliminated the death penalty for homosexuals. As part of the historic peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo both nations agreed under pressure from the Trump Administration to bring new freedoms to their lands including freedom of religion and the decriminalization of homosexuality. Grenell was charged with brokering the Serbia-Kosovo agreement.

In 2017, then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on Chechnya to stop an anti-LGBTQ campaign in which people in the majority Islamic republic were being kidnapped and harmed based on their sexual orientation. The Trump administration put pressure on Russian federal authorities, who oversee Chechnya, to speak out against the campaign and to take steps ” to ensure the release of anyone wrongfully detained .”

The following year the Trump administration left the U.N. Human Rights Council in protest, claiming the council was a hypocritical body and refused to call out the human rights abuses of other nations that sat on the council. Those nations–such as Sudan, Nigeria, the Congo, Bahrain, and Afghanistan – jail, execute, and oppress homosexuals and women.

Biden’s memorandum marks the second time his new administration has hijacked a Trump-era policy regarding LGBTs. Last month, President Biden signed an executive order intended to reverse a so-called transgender military ban enacted by his predecessor.

Trump’s 2017 executive order does not ban transgender Americans from serving openly in the military, only those currently undergoing medical intervention for gender dysphoria. This was in line with almost all existing military policy regarding personnel who require prolonged, regular medical care, including diabetics, for example. 

Despite being regaled in mainstream media as an end to Trump’s “transgender military ban,” Biden’s order does nothing of the sort and, instead, reaffirmed the military’s commitment to enlist all “qualified” and willing Americans, but stops short at changing anything in President Trump’s directive. Biden’s order does not eliminate the ban on service members undergoing medical treatment for gender dysphoria. It also, glaring, does not order the military to pay for gender reassignment surgery or other transition-related medical costs, a demand championed by leftwing activists.