The Trump administration is launching a campaign to legalise homosexuality around the world.
United States officials have confirmed to NBC News that the campaign will target the dozens of countries where it’s still illegal to be gay, reportedly aimed in part at denouncing Iran over its human rights record.
The initiative, which is spearheaded by openly gay US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, will begin with a dinner in Berlin on Tuesday, where LGBTQ activists from across Europe will come up with a plan of action.
“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalise LGBTI status or conduct,” said a US official involved in organising the event.
While the campaign suggests that things may be progressing for LGBTQ rights under the current administration, it’s important to remember that Trump’s treatment of the community until now has been abysmal.
In 2017, Trump announced on Twitter that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to serve “in any capacity” in the US military, which he later argued was an attempt to “protect the country”.
He failed to mention the LGBTQ community in his World AIDS Day proclamation, and six members of the government’s HIV/AIDS advisory council resigned after stating he “simply does not care” about fighting the health epidemic.
Meanwhile, it was recently reported that anti-gay hate crimes in Washington, DC have tripled since Trump became president. In the same timeframe, anti-trans attacks have nearly doubled.
Many activists argue that the hostile political environment has contributed to rises in hate crime across the country.
Monica Palacio, the director of the DC Office for Human Rights, said: “I do think that the president of the United States has been very actively tearing down protections for the LGBTQ community, whether it’s in the military or whether it’s in employment.
“I personally, in my work, I know that over the last 25 years when you have a national role model spewing homophobia a lot is going to happen in the way people treat one another.
“And it’s going to tear down that kind of common decency and sense of respect for people’s life choice.”