Gay rights leaders in some of the most antigay countries around the world have joined in writing a letter to President Obama asking him to be more consistent in how he deals with homophobia as a humanitarian world issue.
Kenya’s Eric Gitari and The Gambia’s Pasamba Jow are among those urging the president to take a similar approach as he has in Ugandan politics, where he restricted the bilateral relations of the US and Uganda based on the laters anti-homosexual legislation.
‘Mr. President, we ask that the United States make clear, even now, that steps will be taken to respond, without fail, in any country where governments attack us and deny our rights,” they write.
Below is the full letter:
Dear Mr. President:
We are not citizens of your country. We write to you, with respect, because we appreciate your unprecedented public support for the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals globally, and because we know that your country’s actions carry great consequence in today’s world.
You have promised that the United States will stand with LGBT people in seeking fairness and equality in all of our countries. Many of us can speak to the positive efforts of U.S. embassies in our countries that have given local impact to that promise.
But if the promise of equal and fair treatment is to be realized, United States policy must be consistent and clear. We ask that it be made so. When Uganda passed a new law threatening the safety, rights and well-being of its LGBT citizens, the U.S. responded clearly. We believe the steps that you took – to deny visas to those responsible for that law, examine how the law might impact U.S. programs, and ensure that no area of your country’s bilateral relationship was immune to a suitable response – have had a positive impact on Uganda’s actions.
But no such actions have been taken toward Nigeria, where a similar law was also recently adopted and is now in effect. No action has been taken toward Brunei, or The Gambia, or Kyrgyzstan, or India, which have all recently increased or re-introduced harsh criminal penalties against LGBT citizens. Not that the response to those counties needs to be identical to the steps taken in Uganda, but surely some clear response is needed. How can we trust otherwise that the United States will, indeed, stand with us as we fight for our rights?
Mr. President, we ask that the United States make clear, even now, that steps will be taken to respond, without fail, in any country where governments attack us and deny our rights. We believe that such a policy, clearly enunciated and triggered when dangerous new laws or discriminatory national programs are enacted and purposefully deployed against us, would deter the leaders of our countries from pursuing shameful national agendas that seek to deny the rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
We ask that you stand with us in this struggle, not only for our sake, but also for yours. The better world we seek, and that we believe in, will benefit all of us through increased democracy, security and prosperity, and that vision cannot be achieved without a consistent partnership with the United States. Your leadership now will be viewed by history as an enduring legacy of your Administration.
BRAVO! I hope it does not fall on deaf ears.
I really feel for LGB people in such homophobic third world countries. But I doubt they’ll receive any assistance from our worthless President.
@aliengod: If you feel for them now then just imagine what a sack of crap you will feel like when their pleas fall on the completely deaf ears of a Republican president, or worse, when that president campaigns for election by advocating for policies that would exclude American gays from equal treatment. One can’t help but believe that would not be a positive thing for these people you supposedly feel so badly for. I also note your exclusion of the “T.” I suppose you’re leaving our transgendered friends to fend for themselves?
I live in the more civilized part of the globe and I can marry and EVEN kiss my boyfriend in public (not in all places, though). But even here homophobia still exists. I can’t even imagine what is like to be stoned to death just because you’re attracted to men. We live in a very crazy world.
@badtungsten: “I suppose you’re leaving our transgendered friends to fend for themselves?”
Perhaps that is what he is implying. Or perhaps he left the t off because lgb people and transgendered people are different, with different issues (particularly in other countries); a man who likes men or a woman who likes women is different from someone who was born into the wrong sex. That does not mean that they should “fend for themselves”, but perhaps they should not be lumped together all the time. They face different and unique challenges, and depending on the country are perceived very differently (take India for example). He also did not put an I there, but nobody is suggesting that means we leave the intersex to “fend for themselves”.
@badtungsten: The LGB movement has been hijacked by the T. As far as a Republican President, I suppose that remains to be seen. Looking at history, the Democrats haven’t always been so inclusive of minorities. People evolve.
@LandStander: Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better.
Let’s not forget Iran, Iraq, Jamaica and our “friends” in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
I’m not in favor of throwing the Ts under the bus, but it is interesting that in homophobic Iran the government pays for gender re-assignment surgery for transsexuals. So it is true that LGBT is not linked together in all oppressive regimes.
It would be a great step for President Obama to take in the support of the LGBTI community by maintaining a clear and consistent policy in our favor.
My “letter” to the president (as a supporter of the LGBT community) would implore him to always follow the Constitution and not lie to and deceive people.
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