President Joe Biden Signs Memorandum Protecting LGBT Rights Globally

President Joe Biden Signs Memorandum Protecting LGBT Rights Globally

President Joe Biden has issued a presidential memorandum aimed at expanding protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people worldwide, including potentially through the use of financial sanctions.

“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” said the memorandum, building on a 2011 directive issued when Biden was serving as vice president.

“The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle – speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values,” the memorandum said.

While a presidential memorandum is largely symbolic, Biden campaigned on a pledge to pass LGBTQ rights legislation known as the Equality Act in the first 100 days of his administration and to make LGBTQ rights a top priority.

The memo directs U.S. agencies working abroad to work harder to combat the criminalization by foreign governments of LGBTQ status or conduct, and directs the State Department to include anti-LGBTQ violence, discrimination and laws in its annual human rights report.

It calls for increased efforts to ensure that LGBTQ asylum seekers have equal access to protection, expanded training for U.S. federal personnel, and potential increased use of priority referrals to expedite resettlement of vulnerable people.

And it instructs agencies to consider appropriate responses, including the full range of diplomatic tools, and potentially financial sanctions and visa restrictions, when foreign governments restrict the rights of LGBTQ people.

Biden announced the push during a forceful speech at the State Department, vowing to rebuild U.S. credibility worldwide.

“To further repair our moral leadership, I’m also issuing a presidential memo to agencies to reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally,” he said. “When 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.”

“America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage,” he added. “We’ll ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals, included by combating criminalization and protecting LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers.”

Biden’s campaign pledge included protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, ensuring fair treatment in the justice system and advancing LGBTQ rights globally.

Biden has already issued an executive order that extends existing federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.

In 2011, former President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum that promoted LGBT rights abroad. A special envoy was created in the State Department in 2015 to fulfill the president’s goal. President Donald Trump left the position unfilled.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he would create an ambassador-level position to promote LGBT rights abroad.

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4 Comments

  1. Mandy
    February 08, 07:51 Reply

    👏👏👏👏 President Biden be doing the Lord’s work!

  2. Mitch
    February 08, 08:38 Reply

    This, ultimately, is self-defeating.
    While sounding good on paper, the truth is that overt actions like these do not help the LGBT cause. Instead, what it does is to lend credence to the conspiracy theory that queerness is an import from the West being shoved down people’s throats.

    Even the United States didn’t get most of its queer liberation through government policies. They were mostly court settled, including the very popular Marriage Equality Act.

    Queer rights and queer acceptance isn’t something that should be pushed through policy. Policies can change. It’s why several countrues in Europe – Poland, Spain, Portugal and Russia come to mind – had several years of criminalising and decriminalising homosexual relations. Policy, on its own, is not enough.

    What is needed to help push cases that present queer relations to the courts, all the way to the supreme courts, citing how the fundamental human rights of queer people are being eroded by bad policies. That way, a court decision in favour of the community can become the stepping stone to the creation of LGBT-friendly policies.

    My two cents, tho!

    • SideEye
      February 08, 23:46 Reply

      Very interesting comment… and I lowkey agree with you.

      I’d like to assume the protection the US government will be providing should include aiding the settlement of LGBTQ+ court cases though.

  3. Rudy
    February 08, 11:40 Reply

    This is surely a good place to start. 👌🏾

    Aka: We (U.S) ain’t frolicking with you (Homophobic Countries) if you ain’t got sense enough to treat your LGBT citizens with dignity & respect.

    Joe/Kamala with them good deeds ✌🏾🥳

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