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February 20, 2019

Trump administration launches a worldwide campaign to end criminalization of homosexuality

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In Berlin, the Trump administration launched a global LGBT decriminalization campaign which can also be seen as a political move against Iran.

LGBT activists flew to Berlin from across Europe to work on a global campaign during a strategy dinner to push for decriminalization of homosexuality in places where it is still illegal.

A survey conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in 2017 concluded that homosexuality is still illegal in 72 nations. In eight of those countries, it's punishable by death. 

Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany, will champion the fight for the rights of the LGBT community. A perfect fit as he is also the highest-profile and “proud to be gay” person within the Trump administration.

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During the caucus dinner, the areas of focus mostly concentrated on the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East. The conception of this global effort came in part after a young man recently got executed in Iran for being gay. As the administration surge forward in their efforts, it seems to be mainly focused on criminalization. 

Grenell had been vocal about his position regarding Iran’s laws, but getting cooperation from European nations to re-impose sanctions have come short, although the administration did have some success in pressuring Iran through upped US penalties.

Appealing to other European nations through the basic human rights channel may get them on the same page with the US regarding Iran.

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Grenell called the hanging of the young gay man in Iran “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights,” as he told the German newspaper Bild. Some followers see the effort only as a political maneuver as a Twitter user wrote:

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Grenell elaborated on his view regarding Iran’s laws where the public execution of homosexuals are ordinary and added:

“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.”

While the administration is pushing hard on the right of the LGBT community, they find themselves on steep ground. As the campaign focus on nations other than the US, matters could get confusing as Donald Trump had notoriously been ambiguous about his stance on LGBT rights. Recently Trump banned any transgender person from serving in the US military.

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On February 13, three LGB members of Congress stood up against a waiver granted by the Trump administration allowing adoption agencies in South Carolina to exclude LGBT homes for child placement.

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But there is another side to this as well. Trump's actions against Iran could affect other nations where he strengthened relations with the US.

Trump had sung the praises of the Egyptian leader on many occasions, a country where being gay is not technically illegal but aggressively targeted by other morality laws none the less.

Another country Trump had vigorously defended is Saudi Arabia. Being a homosexual there is punishable by death. Other countries who also execute openly gay people are Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Afghanistan. All allies of the United States.

Celebrities like Robert De Niro are known to be vocal on all issues Trump, and a recent interview was no exception, as he likened Trump to Adolf Hitler.

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