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NEW YORK — President Obama is often berated for bungling foreign policy. Outside the U.S., his prioritizing lesbian, gay bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights has aggravated already sour relations – a trend that will increase as the U.S. funds groups tied to prostitution, dubious transgender studies and anti-religious bigotry.

Obama’s 2011 presidential memorandum elevating special rights for individuals who identify as LGBT abroad created a new funding stream for groups that promote LGBT rights. Some take controversial topics head on.

It would be of “enormous benefit” to individuals who lead LGBT lifestyles if prostitution were legal according to a statement on the website of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice—one of the USAID’s partners in the new LGBT Global Development Partnership. Astrea says prostitution should be called “sex work” and legalized.

According to public records, Astrea received over $1 million from USAID in 2013, and could receive nearly another $3 million by 2016. Astrea criticizes so called “exit-only” programs because they “force women to exit the sex trade” and leave out the “most important voices—those of girls/women involved in sex work or being trafficked.”

Organizations funded by USAID are not limited to activities in developing countries.

USAID has a contract with the Victory Institute, a non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization that teaches politicians to run for office on LGBT issues. It offers training and professional development programs for politicians, advocates and businessmen. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, currently embroiled in a scandal involving her subpoena of the sermons and preaching materials of five pastors who oppose her recent LGBT rights ordinance, is one of the beneficiaries of the Victory Institute’s strategic guidance.

A UCLA think tank that trains judges on LGBT issues is also a USAID partner. A study it commissioned concluded child development in households with a transgender parent is the same as in any family.

Olivia, a travel agency and tour operator for lesbians, is another eclectic group chosen by USAID. It describes itself as “THE Travel company for lesbians!” (emphasis original) and boasts having taken 200,000 women on an Olivia vacation “surrounded by women of all ages and ethnicities from all over the world.”

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These are a few of USAID’s “champions and allies” according to the new “USAID Vision for Action” which lays out the progress of USAID in implementing Obama’s order. The order outlines funding for LGBT issues and special attention for LGBT persons throughout all federal international programs. For instance, since 2012 USAID contractors have to navigate new non-discrimination provisions in order to partner with USAID.

Other countries perceive this as a threat to children and challenge to their laws, cultures and traditions.

Last week, African countries chided the UN human rights bureaucracy and donor countries for promoting special rights for individuals who identify as LGBT. Egypt warned the new High Commissioner for Human Rights that “we cannot have imposed agendas.” Malawi, representing 57 African countries, called for “restraint” and said efforts to impose new norms “undermine” the human rights system.

Secretary of State John Kerry conceded while speaking at the UN last month that LGBT issues have become more contentious, and laws opposed by LGBT activists “are metastizing,”

Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.


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