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The Trump administration has decided to combat discrimination against homosexuals worldwide, starting a campaign that would eradicate the criminalization of homosexuality, according to Trump administration officials who spoke with NBC News.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is gay, is spearheading the effort; on Tuesday night, he will head a dinner in Berlin for LGBT activists on how to target areas around the world that criminalize homosexuality.
According to administration officials, the Trump administration expects to join with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the global effort. The effort is not expected to address the issue of same-sex marriage, but remain focused on decriminalizing LGBT behavior.
Part of the reason for the Trump administration’s effort was the recent hanging of a young gay man in Iran; although many European countries have resisted joining the U.S. in walking away from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, if they sign on to the anti-criminalization effort, they would be aligned with the United States against Iran.
In February, Grenell told the German newspaper Bild that the hanging was “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights,” adding, “This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won’t be the last time. Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death … politicians, the U.N., democratic governments, diplomats and good people everywhere should speak up — and loudly.”
Some allies of the U.S. still have laws on the books criminalizing homosexuality; the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) reported in 2017 that 72 countries criminalize homosexuality and eight punish it with death.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked in his Senate confirmation hearing, “I deeply believe that LGBTQ persons have every right that every other person in the world would have.”
Trump has been harshly criticized by LGBT advocates; the Human Rights Campaign wrote, titling their article, “Trump’s Record of Hate,” “… Trump is a bully and so is his administration. He will do everything in his power to tear back the progress made under former President Obama, including rolling back and undermining laws that help the LGBTQ community and other minority groups. HRC will continue to stand up against Trump. We will join other civil rights organizations and remain vigilant in holding Trump and his administration accountable at every turn.”
GLAAD has a entity called “The Trump Accountability Project (TAP).” GLAAD notes that the project is “a resource for journalists, editors, and other newsmakers reporting on the Trump administration, which catalogues the anti-LGBTQ statements and actions of President Donald Trump and those in his circle. From the moment that President Trump was sworn in, LGBTQ people were erased from White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor websites and he has been targeting the LGBTQ community ever since.”