Under the Obama administration, Randy Berry was appointed to the role of US Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons. The role allowed him to fight anti-LGBTQ legislation around the world.
And even though Rex Tillerson – the US Secretary of State – vowed to keep the role, it has been vacant since Berry was moved to become the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor last November. And despite being vacant, the role is not listed on the State Department’s recruitment system.
Speaking to PinkNews, Ty Cobb, the Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s global program said: “From day one, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have worked to undermine American values and roll back the critical progress we’ve made on LGBTQ rights in the U.S.
“It is disturbing that they are also working to undermine our nation’s commitment to the human rights of LGBTQ people abroad. Secretary Tillerson’s failure to fill this critically important position is yet another indication of his dangerously negligent indifference toward LGBTQ people around the world.
“Make no mistake, this November at the polls, the fair-minded people of the United States will hold this administration accountable for their failures.”
Sadly, the potential removal of this role won’t come as a surprise to anyone as Donald Trump’s administration has been one of the most hostile administrations towards the LGBTQ community.
Earlier this month, Trump and Pence set out their budget plans for 2019, one of the measures would slash funding to HIV/AIDS programs by $1 billion. And last month, Trump set up a new civil rights division allowing healthcare professionals to refuse treatment of LGBTQ people and pregnant women depending on their religious beliefs.
Speaking at the time, Jerame Davis, the Executive Director of Pride At Work said: “President Trump’s Health and Human Services Department is playing with people’s lives in their latest attempt to upend LGBTQ rights.
“This brand of so-called ‘religious freedom’ is a mockery of the fundamental religious protections provided by our Constitution. It is not ‘freedom’ of religion to use your faith as a weapon to harm others.”