August 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Mark A. Green confirmed as next USAID administrator

Bethlehem, gay news, Washington Blade

A U.S. Agency for International Development project in the West Bank. The U.S. Senate on Aug. 3, 2017, confirmed former Wisconsin Congressman Mark A. Green to become the next USAID administrator. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved former Wisconsin Congressman Mark A. Green to become the next head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Green told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June during his confirmation hearing that USAID needs to “make sure that our programming reaches all marginalized communities, and in many parts of the world LGBT marginalized communities.”

“Violence and discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security as well as our American values,” he told U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), as the Human Rights Campaign noted in a press release. “No country can rise if it is discriminating against any marginalized community. No country can be a vibrant democracy if it isn’t listening to all of its voices.”

Green was the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania from 2007-2009. He represented Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999-2007.

Mark E. Green, who is not related to Green, in May withdrew his name from consideration to become the next U.S. Army secretary amid criticism over his anti-LGBT record.

“USAID responds to disasters and pandemics, feeds the desperate and heals the sick, opposes extremism, strengthens governance, and creates opportunity,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement after the Senate confirmed Green. “This work improves lives at home and abroad. In his new capacity, Mark will pursue reforms to further increase the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness of its programs, and we are confident he will help us prioritize America’s future development investments so we can ensure every tax dollar advances our country’s security and prosperity.”

LGBT rights advocates in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and other countries around the world have worked with USAID in recent years. Then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice last October announced a USAID rule that formally bans contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity had taken effect.

Members of Ansar-al-Islam, a branch of al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, in April 2016 hacked to death Xulhaz Mannan, a prominent LGBT rights advocate in Bangladesh who worked for USAID, and his friend, Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy. USAID has placed a brick with Mannan’s name on it near the entrance to its D.C. headquarters.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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