UK government ‘has never raised’ trans rights with Trump administration
The UK government has admitted it has never raised trans rights with US government, as the Trump administration demolishes protections for transgender Americans.
Since the Trump administration came to power in January, it has quickly set to work revoking some of the fragile LGBT rights protections put in place under President Obama.
Much of the backlash has been aimed at transgender Americans, with the Trump administration reversing Obama-era civil rights protections for transgender kids in schools, and banning trans people from the military.
The Trump administration has also ceased federal objections to state-level laws discriminating against trans people, while Trump’s Justice Department is expected to argue against Constitutional discrimination protections for trans people.
But despite the growing issues facing trans Americans, the UK government this week admitted that it has never raised the issue with its closest ally.
Labour’s Catherine West had asked in Parliament what discussions the Foreign Secretary “has had with his counterpart in the US Administration on transgendered rights”.
Responding to the question, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan confirmed no “specific discussions” had been had with the US.
He said: “We have not held any specific discussions on transgender rights with the US Administration.
“The US Administration is aware of our opposition to all forms of discrimination, and our commitment to promoting LGBT+ equality around the world.”
As the UK begins to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May has made pursuing a trade deal with the US a ‘top priority’.
Mrs May has been criticised previously for her unwillingness to raise public concerns about the Trump administration.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had vowed to champion LGBT rights around the world in a speech just two months ago.
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In that speech Mr Johnson vowed to support equality even though “it might even cause offence in some places”.
Mr Johnson said: “I would just like to say that the first thing I did – the first instruction I issued – as Foreign Secretary, on I think July 13 last year when I took up this job was to say that the rainbow flag should be flown from every one of our embassies, legations and consulates around the world.
“And they said – some of the FCO [Foreign & Commonwealth Office] officials – that in some countries that might prove controversial and that it might even cause offence in some places, and I said that that might be necessary in the short term.”
Likewise, the Conservative Party manifesto said of global human rights: “We believe Britain should play an active, leading role in the world.
“Not because it is our right or inheritance, but because our leadership in the world is the surest way to defend and advance the interests of the British people, and to extend around the world those values that we believe to be right.”