Once again, openly gay congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is putting the pressure on Egypt, the second-highest foreign recipient of U.S. aid, to cease its crackdown on gay men. Frank, along with openly gay congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), the highest-ranking member of the International Relations Commission, sent a letter to Congress on May
2 asking representatives to withhold their support for trade with Egypt. Frank and others said they are disturbed by the arrest and conviction of increasing numbers of reportedly gay men in the predominantly Muslim nation.
"All three members wrote to every member of the House of Representatives, urging them to withhold any support for a U.S.-Egypt Free Trade Agreement until the government of Egypt stops its brutal systematic persecution of gay men," Daniel McGlinchey, a spokesperson for Frank's office, told The Washington Blade. "This is our effort to actively oppose these kinds of negotiations until they stop their mistreatment of gay men." Last year Frank and a number of other U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to the Egyptian government expressing their alarm over the treatment of gay men in that country.