February 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration revealed Tuesday that it will be spearheading a global effort to get countries to end their criminalization of homosexuality, according to a report by NBC News. While the move is likely to distress many of Trump's Christian-base supporters, it has interestingly been met with a cold shoulder by U.S. pro-LGBT voices.
The effort is being led by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a homosexual conservative rumored to be in consideration as President Donald Trump’s next ambassador to the United Nations.
“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” a US official told NBC News of the effort, which begins this week with an American-hosted strategy meeting in Berlin of LGBT advocates from across Europe.
The report notes that the effort is “narrowly focused on criminalization” instead of pressuring countries to adopt policies such as same-sex “marriage,” and is motivated in part by Iran hanging a man last month for violating the Islamic nation’s ban on sodomy, a capital offense (the man was also accused of kidnapping two teenagers, though it’s unclear how both offenses factored into his sentence. Grenell believes the kidnapping charges are false).
“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,” Grenell said. “Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death […] politicians, the U.N., democratic governments, diplomats and good people everywhere should speak up — and loudly.”
NBC notes that the administration may see emphasizing Iran’s treatment of homosexuals as a way to get more European nations to join its efforts to contain Iran, though there’s also concern the push could strain relations with Arab allies Trump also wants united against Iran.
“People can disagree philosophically about homosexuality, but no person should ever be subject to criminal penalties because they are gay,” Grenell has written. The ambassador later told NBC that religious and social conservatives support his efforts, with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – both of whom liberals have targeted for their Christian beliefs – “absolutely” on board.
Stefano Gennarini, Vice President of the Center of Legal Studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), lamented the move, saying that the administration “has not shown the slightest interest in spending even a fraction of the financial and political resources required for this LGBT effort on pro-life diplomatic efforts”:
Pro-life groups must stop accepting GOP platitudes about the Supreme Court and the Mexico City Policy and demand real pro-life international efforts instead.
— Stefano Gennarini (@prolifeadvocate) February 20, 2019
Despite this dramatic gesture in the name of “gay rights,” pro-LGBT media outlets are doubling down on the narrative that Donald Trump is still a full-spectrum bigot.
The Washington Blade published a report lamenting that the US-based groups OutRight Action International, Human Rights Campaign and Council for Global Equality weren’t invited to the planning meeting, with HRC’s Jeremy Kadden declaring that Trump and Pence “have consistently worked to undermine the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families here at home from day one.”
Them journalist Matt Baume called the push “hypocritical” coming “after two years spent working to oppress LGBTQ+ people in America,” while Out’s Mathew Rodriguez penned a reaction titled, “Trump’s Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic” rooted in a “colonial sense of paternalism rather than any true altruism.”
“The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook,” Rodriguez writes. “In her essay, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?” postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak coined the term ‘White men saving brown women from brown men’ to describe the racist, paternalistic process by which colonizing powers would decry the way men in power treated oppressed groups, like women, to justify attacking them.”
In this case, he argues, “Grennell’s [sic] attack might be a case of white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men, to the same end.” Rodriguez’s piece has been widely mocked in conservative media.
While Donald Trump has strongly supported the right to life and religious liberty, and pushed back against the LGBT lobby on issues such as transgender soldiers, a science-based definition of gender, gendered restrooms, and government recognition of “pride month,” some social conservatives have expressed disappointment that his personal approval of homosexuality negatively impacts other policy decisions.
The president has nominated a variety of pro-LGBT officials to government posts and judgeships, continued a number of Obama-era pro-LGBT policies, such as an executive order on “gender identity nondiscrimination,” publicly praised the liberal, pro-LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans, and declared that the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling forcing all fifty states to recognize same-sex “marriage” was “settled law.”