October 25, 2017 at 6:00 am EDT | by Glenn Magpantay
Enough is enough!

transgender military ban, gay news, Washington Blade

President Trump‘s travel ban is anti-Muslim. (Photo by Michael Vadon; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump, one week after his inauguration, on Jan. 27, 2017, announced a travel ban — targeting people in seven majority Muslim countries, attempting to make good on an egregious campaign promise to prevent all Muslims from entering the United States. Ten months later we have since seen three versions of the ban, each blocked by the courts. Recently in a thinly veiled effort to disguise its discriminatory nature, Trump inexplicably removed Iraq and Sudan from the list, replacing them with North Korea and Venezuela, two non-majority Muslim countries and adding Chad.

Again the court “banned” the ban. On Oct. 17, one day before it was to go into effect, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson blocked implementation of the latest version of the “anti-Muslim” travel ban. The Washington Post reported in a 40-page decision granting the state of Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order, Watson wrote that the latest ban “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor . . . [The executive order] plainly discriminates based on nationality in a way that is opposed to federal law and the founding principles of this nation.” Only Venezuela and North Korea were exempted from the injunction.

At this moment LGBT and other travelers from six of the named nations are not banned from entering the Untied States.

LGBT status matters

Every nation listed in the travel bans presents a real and present danger to LGBT people. The penal codes in five of the seven countries – Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Somalia — proscribe as punishment for homosexual or same-sex relationships 3-5 years imprisonment. Iran and Yemen call for the death penalty. In each of these five countries a person perceived to be homosexual, may be accused (and found guilty of) committing unnatural acts, conducting or promoting same sex relationships, homosexual acts, sodomy, buggery, lewd acts, promoting propaganda or violating obscenity or so-called morality laws.

In Chad a new criminal code seeks to punish homosexual behavior as a misdemeanor. In Venezuela and North Korea while the penal codes do not contain laws directly discriminating against LGBT people, anecdotal information tells us that LGBT lives are less then tolerable in these repressive societies. Venezuela for example reported over 110 murders of transgender people in less than a decade; the fourth highest ranked country according to Trans Murder Monitoring project.

Not one of these nations carries legal protections for LGBT people. LGBT persons seeking refuge from these countries clearly face life-threatening circumstances and at the very least unbearable living conditions.

It’s time to call for an end to the travel ban

It is time for the Trump administration to “let go” of the illegal Muslim travel ban and cease any further appeals. Federal resources and taxpayer monies should not be expended in the useless pursuit of a discriminatory travel ban which threatens lives and destroys families. The court has struck down the ban three times. Enough is enough!

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance has led a national campaign in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community protesting the ban. We have submitted an LGBT amicus brief in the legal challenges in court, organized a national series of awareness-building actions in seven cities and continue to tell the stories of LGBT Muslims in America. We will fight the Muslim travel ban as long as necessary. Join us!

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.

Glenn Magpantay is the executive director of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Comments are closed
© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.
Blade Blast

Get the latest LGBTQ news to your inbox every Thursday!