Despite the myriad actions the Trump Administration has taken against LGBTQ people since Donald Trump took office, the administration announced Tuesday that it will launch a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in countries where it is still considered illegal to be gay.
Responding in part to the recent reported hanging of a man accused of being gay in Iran, the move toward decriminalization of homosexuality is considered to be part of the Trump Administration’s strategy to reposition its issues with Iran under an umbrella of human rights so that European nations that have resisted supporting Trump on penalties against the country, will get on board, according to NBC.
The campaign to decriminalize homosexuality will be led by Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and the highest-profile openly gay member of the Trump Administration. Writing for the German newspaper Bild, Grenell referred to the reported hanging of the Iranian man as “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights.”
A long-time critic of Iran, Grenell has called for nations in Europe to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and to impose sanctions.
“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 wrote. “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,” Grenell wrote.
“We’d believe that the Trump administration will work to protect LGBTQ people around the world if they had not attacked LGBTQ people in the U.S. over 90 times since taking office," GLAAD tweeted in response to the Trump Administration's announcement.
Since Trump took office, his administration has rescinded protections for trans students, repeatedly pushed to ban transgender people from the military, rescinded guidelines to protect LGBTQ people in housing and in the workplace, promoted anti-LGBTQ religious exemptions, and fired the entire HIV and AIDS Council. His administration has taken 94 actions against LGBTQ people since he's been in office, according to GLAAD.
Using Iran’s anti-LGBTQ stance as a fulcrum to gather support from other nations against Trump’s political nemesis could work against the administration, especially if it opens up U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia to scrutiny over its stance on LGBTQ rights.
The proposed decriminalization campaign would not focus on pressuring nations into adopting civil rights like marriage equality, according to NBC.