President Biden has called upon US agencies abroad to “promote and protect the human rights” of LGBTQ+ individuals across the globe.
On Thursday (4 February) US President Biden issued a memorandum on advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people worldwide.
The released memorandum is one of Biden’s latest presidential actions to support the queer community, including reversing the trans military ban and pledging to pass the Equality Act within the first 100 days of taking office.
The opening of Biden’s foreign policy memo calls upon pre-existing principles, which were established by Obama in 2011 under the international initiatives memorandum.
Biden’s own policy addresses a greater need for inclusivity and strives to “ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons”.
The US President reiterates the importance of achieving progressive outcomes abroad and to “lead by the power of our example” in “advancing the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons around the world.”
Making a stand on the international stage, Biden has declared the US “cannot afford to be absent any longer”.
Biden’s new actioned policy solidifies his promise to fight against concerning levels of violence and discrimination faced by the community.
In the memorandum, President Biden calls for agencies and department to help combat the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ individuals abroad, to protect vulnerable LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, to aid with foreign assistance, to swiftly react to LGBTQ+ abuse cases abroad, and to build a coalition of nations and international organisation to fight against LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Currently over 70 countries have existing laws that criminalise LGBTQ+ relations according to the Human Dignity Trust.
Alongside these outcomes, the memo allows the opportunity to rescind inconsistent policies that do not align with the newly issued memorandum.
This rule gives departments and agencies 100 days to report and review on progress and suggest steps to either change or withdraw policies and regulations that are in opposition of the memo’s principles.
Biden’s campaign made LGBTQ+ rights and issue a strong foundation within his presidential campaign, which included the promise to deliver the Equality Act in his first 100 days in office, as well as promising to keep LGBTQ+ rights on his agenda.
The Equality Act which aims to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.
Biden has long been a proponent of LGBTQ+ rights. Under the Obama administration, the Democrat has been a vocal advocator of the queer community.
The US President is also working to undo stigma imposed on the LGBTQ+ community and to open up accessibility to resources.
This promise would reverse the Department of Defences policies which unfair discriminate against those living with HIV and Trump-Pence’s Deploy or Get Out policy which, again, targets HIV positive individuals.
In May 2012, Biden historically became the first highest ranking official to back same-sex marriage.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights,” he said during an appearance on Meet the Press.
“All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”