Advocacy groups in the wake of Donald Trump’s election have urged him to continue U.S. efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad.
“The U.S. must continue to recognize that LGBTIQ rights are human rights,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, in a statement her organization released after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
Stern noted the appointment of Special U.S. Envoy for the Promotion of LGBTI Human Rights Randy Berry is among the accomplishments of the Obama administration since it directed U.S. agencies that implement foreign policy to promote LGBT rights abroad in 2011. She also highlighted the U.S. Agency for International Development’s new policy that bans contractors from discriminating against their LGBT employees and the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the State Department and USAID operates in order to promote LGBT rights abroad.
“We cannot allow this progress to be reversed during the Trump administration,” said Stern.
Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global, echoed Stern.
“The United States’ commitment to protecting the human rights of LGBTQ people has become a central pillar of our nation’s international human rights efforts over the last several years,” Cobb told the Washington Blade on Tuesday.
“Our foreign assistance and diplomatic efforts must not stop engaging, strengthening, and supporting LGBTQ people because foreign nations are more stable and stronger allies when their citizens are guaranteed freedom and equality,” he added. “More than anything else, this work must continue because lives depend on it.”
Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo told the Blade his organization has had a “long and positive relationship” with Berry.
“The preservation of that post or its incorporation into another office at the State Department is something Log Cabin Republicans would support,” said Angelo. “Promoting LGBT dignity and safety abroad should be part of foreign policy in a Trump administration.”
Advocates overseas with whom the Blade spoke this week said they too hope a Trump administration would continue U.S. efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad.
“We will see a significant setback (of LGBT rights) at the global level if current policies are reversed,” Tamara Adrián, the first openly trans woman elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly, told the Blade on Sunday.
Ayaz Hassan, a human rights advocate from the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, was more pragmatic.
“Nothing can stop activists; not Trump or anyone else,” Hassan told the Blade. “If we can do it in Iraq, we can do it in the U.S.”
Log Cabin Republicans have ‘engaged’ with Trump transition team
A spokesperson for Trump’s transition team did not return the Blade’s request for comment.
Trump has previously noted the so-called Islamic State, which has publicly executed dozens of Iraqi and Syrian men who were accused of sodomy, and other Islamic extremist groups pose a threat to LGBT people. Vice President-elect Pence opposed American efforts to promote gay rights abroad when he was a member of Congress.
State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau on Tuesday said the State Department has not spoken with anyone on Trump’s transition team. She nevertheless said it stands “ready to welcome them, provide the briefing materials, the facilitation as we look toward inauguration in January.”
A USAID spokesperson told the Blade on Tuesday that “ensuring an orderly transition at USAID is a top priority for Administrator (Gayle) Smith.”
“We look forward to working closely with the president-elect and the transition team,” said the spokesperson.
Angelo told the Blade that his organization has “engaged with” Trump’s transition team on U.S. efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad and other issues.
“We will continue to do so as specific policy proposals start to be generated,” said Angelo.
Angelo told the Blade that Log Cabin Republicans did not endorse Trump’s candidacy, in part, because of “definite unknowns” on foreign policy. He nevertheless referenced Clinton who told her supporters when she conceded to the Republican billionaire that they need to give him “a chance to lead.”
“Log Cabin Republicans is going to do just that,” said Angelo.