President Trump has decided to keep Obama’s LGBT rights envoy
President Trump has decided to keep Obama’s LGBT rights envoy at the state department.
The news will anger evangelical groups who had lobbied for the position to be axed in the Trump administration.
Randy Berry, who is gay, was originally appointed to the senior role within the US State Department by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
A State Department spokesperson said that Berry, the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, is continuing “in his role under the current administration”.
The news may surprise many, given Vice President Mike Pence is staunchly anti-LGBT rights and almost every member of Trump’s cabinet opposed marriage equality.
“This is really surprising to me,” Ross Murray, the director of programs at GLAAD, told FP.
“I don’t think I can applaud it until I see what his mandate becomes in this administration.”
“But Berry has been really effective in that job,” he said.
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Other groups, however, have criticised Trump’s extreme vetting that may prevent LGBT refugees from fleeing persecution.
When Obama appointed Berry, he became the first ever LGBT rights envoy for the US.
He previously served as Consul General in Amsterdam, and has also had postings for the State Department in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda, South Africa, and Washington DC.
At the time, Secretary Kerry said: “Randy’s a leader, he’s a motivator. But most importantly for this effort, he’s got vision.
“Wherever he’s served — from Nepal to New Zealand, from Uganda to Bangladesh, from Egypt to South Africa, and most recently as consul general in Amsterdam — Randy has excelled.
“He’s a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights. And I’m confident that Randy’s leadership as our new special envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.”