In a memorandum issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama directed U.S. agencies working abroad, including the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to use foreign aid to assist gays and lesbians who are facing human rights violations. And he ordered U.S. agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.From the White House's own press release on it, the President and his administration is already using diplomatic means to fight criminalization of homosexuality, protecting LGBT asylum seekers and refugees, and supporting pride events and facilitating private and public discussions around the globe.
“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights,” Obama said in a statement.
Thanks to President Obama, the United States is no longer on the sidelines when human rights of LGBT folks across the globe are violated or when governments, by policy and law strip their LGBT citizens of their human rights.
This president has a special place in his heart for the true plight of human rights - no matter what group it affects: defined whether by race, gender, age, economic status, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Lots of people can talk about being a fierce advocate for LGBT people, but President Obama has proven himself as one. From signing the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, to signing the UN gay rights declaration to ensuring equal treatment of same sex partners at hospitals to a myriad of other concrete achievements for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people, the President has shown us that it matters who is in the White House. That his promise to be a fierce advocate was not a hollow one, and he would not let us down.
The fight for equality here at home and abroad is by no means over. But it sure as heck feels better to fight with the leader of the free world by our side.