Yesterday, the Trump administration announced that it will lead a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide. That may sound great, but there are reasons to suspect the president’s motives. Here’s why:
1) Key LGBTQ groups have been left out of the planning.
The Washington Blade pointed out that the campaign’s planning meeting in Berlin yesterday evening didn’t invite OutRight Action International, the Human Rights Campaign, the Council for Global Equality, the Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany (the country’s largest non-governmental LGBT rights group) or the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association-Europe to the table.
If you’re really trying to get rid of homophobic laws internationally, why would you exclude some of the world’s leading experts in international homophobia?
2) Trump has repeatedly turned away refugees seeking asylum from anti-LGBTQ countries.
Remember Chechnya, the Russian region that has been kidnapping, detaining, torturing and killing queer people for about two years now? Yeah, the U.S. hasn’t issued visas to any Chechans feeling violence there. The U.S. also recently sent a trans woman fleeing violence in El Salvador back to her home country—she was promptly murdered upon returning.
Lots of South and Central American countries have widespread anti-LGBTQ violence, but Trump has characterized any immigrants fleeing there as rapists and criminals. So why the sudden change of heart? If he’s serious about this, let’s see some asylum visas.
3) Trump has used anti-LGBTQ politics to push for racist policies in the past.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Trump said, “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful, foreign ideology, believe me.” He said this immediately after the Pulse nightclub shooting, and the statement suggested that he’d oppose queerphobia Muslim-majority countries while ignoring anti-LGBTQ sentiment at home.
This is a ideology known as “homonationalism,” a term defined as:
Whenever a person or group claims solidarity with the LGBTQ community as a way to justify racist and xenophobic policies, especially ones against people of color, immigrants, Muslims or other countries. Homonationalism often takes the view that other people, cultures or countries are inherently homophobic and that Western countries are more culturally, morally, and politically advanced and egalitarian (that is, they believe that all people deserve equal rights and opportunities).
Several outlets have noted that Trump’s new campaign seems mostly to be a way to shame any country still doing business with Iran. Considering that the campaign will mostly focus on the Middle East, African or the Caribbean (and likely won’t touch Russia) it seems a bit too geo-targeted to not have an ulterior motive behind it.