Wednesday, 16 July 2014

US U-Turn on International Homophobia

The Bill's Primary Sponsor Rep. John Tierney

We read this article with interest:

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday would bolster the State Department's ability to fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals abroad, its bipartisan sponsors say.

The bill would direct the department to make LGBT rights a foreign policy priority, develop a strategy to prevent LGBT discrimination and appoint a special envoy to handle those efforts.

The envoy would help coordinate activities between the State Department and other governments, non-governmental organizations and -- if appropriate -- the private sector to address LGBT discrimination globally...

Why are we so surprised by this?

Because it was only last year that the US Supreme Court was saying the exact opposite:

Still, who are we to argue with progress? 

Whilst we're onthe topic, a good article by Kevin Watkins: Time to Act on LGBT Rights in Africa, which advocates a change in approach by foreign countris:

While gay rights are advancing in the world's richest countries, across much of Africa they are in retreat. Homosexuality is illegal in 36 of the region's 55 countries. Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people are being criminalized through draconian legislation. Gay Nigerians face up to 14 years in prison and their Ugandan counterparts face life. In a particularly ugly twist, Ugandan citizens are also required to report on 'gay suspects'...

Ultimately, civil rights struggles are fought through domestic politics. In Africa, as in Harvey Milk's America, the struggle for LGBT will be won by people forming broad alliances for changes. Western governments cannot deliver change. But they can do far more to support the people who can.

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