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Joe Biden signs historic memorandum calling for the worldwide protection of LGBT+ rights

Emma Powys Maurice February 5, 2021
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Joe Biden

Joe Biden speaks at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2021. (Saul Oeb/AFP/Getty)

President Joe Biden continued to erase Donald Trump’s hateful legacy by signing a historic memorandum calling for the worldwide protection of LGBT+ rights.

The memo was announced as Biden delivered his first major foreign policy speech during a visit to the State Department where he signalled his plans to place diplomacy at the centre of US foreign policy.

It’s the latest in a series of pro-LGBT+ orders from the Biden administration, including repealing the ban on trans people in the military and implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling against discrimination.

“It reflects his deep commitment to these issues both here in the United States and everywhere around the world,” National security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters ahead of the announcement. “The United States will speak out and act on behalf of these rights as we go.”

Biden alluded to the toxic Trump administration’s as he spoke of his intention to “repair our moral leadership”, issuing the presidential memo to “reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally”.

“We’ll ensure diplomacy and foreign assistance are working to promote the rights of those individuals included by combatting criminalisation, and protecting the LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers,” he vowed.

The Trump administration has made little progress advancing LGBT+ rights around the world, with human rights experts describing the president’s much-vaulted campaign to decriminalise homosexuality abroad as nothing but a “sham”.

“The reality is that the Trump administration has consistently undermined LGBT+ rights domestically and internationally, and the [decriminalisation] campaign is being used to distract people from that,” noted Graeme Reid, director of the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch.

Overall, reporting on LGBT+ issues abroad decreased by a shocking 21 per cent under Trump as his administration quietly erased LGBT+ issues from global human rights reports.

Biden has pledged to restore America’s global leadership on LGBT+ issues, leading lead a coalition of like-minded governments and organisations who will use America’s “full range of diplomatic tools” to push the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Joe Biden’s early efforts were applauded by the Human Rights Campaign.”With today’s presidential memorandum, president Biden and secretary Blinken recommit the United States to a foreign policy that protects and supports the human rights of LGBT+ people abroad,” said HRC president Alphonso David.

“Around the world, many LGBT+ people still face discrimination, persecution and violence simply for who they are or who they love.

“We applaud the Biden administration and secretary Blinken for making it clear that the United States is a nation that values LGBT+ people at home and abroad, and is willing to fight to ensure every person is able to live free and equal.”

Related topics: Donald Trump, joe biden

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