President Joe Biden issued a memorandum this week reaffirming U.S. support for the rights and safety of LGBTI people around the world. The presidential memorandum is directed to the heads of U.S. government agencies and builds upon a previous memorandum issued by former President Barack Obama in 2011.
The memorandum states that “All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love.” It goes on to applaud activists around the world who are working for LGBTI equality and human rights and adds “It shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTI persons around the world.”
President Biden’s memorandum directs all U.S. agencies that work abroad to combat criminalization laws, protect vulnerable LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, use foreign assistance to protect human rights, call out abuses of the human rights of LGBTI people, work in coalitions with like-minded nations and international organizations, and rescind anti-LGBTI policies enacted by the Trump administration. The memorandum also presents critical opportunities for a deeper reflection about the U.S. government’s own refugee and asylum policies as well as its responses to countries that restrict LGBTI rights.
MPact joins gay and bisexual activists around the world in welcoming President Biden’s memorandum. We look forward to engaging with the new administration, and to continuing our advocacy, to promote the health and rights of LGBTI communities worldwide.