The Obama administration announced today, via a presidential memorandum and a speech from Secretary of State Clinton, that the United States will "use foreign aid as a tool to improve Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender rights abroad." This is a first! What does it even mean, though?
"I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation," Mr. Obama said in a presidential memorandum.
The memorandum includes a number of instructions for federal agencies doing work overseas, among them to improve protections for LGBT asylum seekers and to strengthen opposition to criminalization of LGBT status or conduct. It instructs the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies to use foreign aid as a mechanism to "build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons."
Sure, sounds good. The State Department have their work cut out for them, though. Most countries around the world, some of whom may even be our good strategic allies, simply do not care for LGBT persons and would prefer to throw rocks at them. Maybe this will be enough to get Uganda to cut the shit, at least.
[Image via AP]