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Queer Up The World

Biden signs foreign policy memo putting U.S. at ‘forefront’ of global LGBTQ rights

President Joe Biden has issued a historic memorandum committing the United States to promoting LGBTQ rights on the international stage. Released to the public this week, the Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World directs American agencies operating abroad “to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.” It calls for agencies to combat criminalization of LGBTQ identity or conduct, protect LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers, address human rights abuses affecting LGBTQ people and work with like-minded nations and international organizations to combat discrimination. It’s intent is to use the full power of the United States and Presidential authority to educate and change the hearts and minds of the approximately 70 countries around the world that currently have laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults, according to the Human Rights Watch. Barack Obama issued the first presidential memorandum directing U.S. agencies abroad to promote LGBTQ rights globally in 2011. Biden indicated his order “builds upon that historic legacy.” But it goes much further. Biden said in the announcement “Around the globe, including here at home, brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) activists are fighting for equal protection under the law, freedom from violence, and recognition of their fundamental human rights. The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle — speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values. It shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.” Biden initially announced the directive earlier Thursday in a speech at the Department of State, in which he promised “to reinvigorate our leadership on LGBTQI issues and to do it internationally.” With the new memorandum President Biden likely became the most powerful LGBTQ voice on this planet.

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