President Biden and Secretary Blinken Release Comprehensive Memorandum on Protecting Rights of LGBTQ People Abroad

by Viet Tran

HRC responded to the news that President Biden signed a presidential memorandum on protecting the rights of LGBTQ people worldwide. This action is the latest in a series of numerous early actions by the Biden administration, including implementing Bostock and rescinding the ban on transgender people serving in our nation’s military, aimed at bolstering LGBTQ rights domestically and abroad.

With today’s presidential memorandum, President Biden and Secretary Blinken recommit the United States to a foreign policy that protects and supports the human rights of LGBTQ people abroad. Around the world, many LGBTQ people still face discrimination, persecution and violence simply for who they are or who they love. We applaud the Biden administration and Secretary Blinken for making it clear that the United States is a nation that values LGBTQ people at home and abroad, and is willing to fight to ensure every person is able to live free and equal.

Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Around the world LGBTQ people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution and violence.

  • Same-sex relations is criminalized in 69 countries.
  • In nine countries same-sex conduct is punishable by death.
  • So-called anti-LGBTQ “propaganda” laws inhibit LGBTQ advocacy in three countries.
  • Same-sex marriage is legal in 29 countries.

Beginning even prior to Day One, President Joe Biden and his administration have made rapid, unprecedented progress towards advancing LGBTQ equality. From his historic appointments to a slate of Executive Actions advancing LGBTQ equality and racial equity, including a substantive, wide-ranging LGBTQ executive order that implements the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County and an executive order to reverse the ban on transgender military service.

HRC released the Blueprint for Positive Change 2020, an important brief that includes 85 individual policy recommendations, reaching across the federal government, aimed at bettering the daily lives of LGBTQ people at home and abroad. Recommendations also included establishing an interagency working group to protect and support LGBTQ rights globally, creating a non-binary gender marker and modernizing existing requirements for updating gender markers on US passports and appointing openly-LGBTQ cabinet officials, justices, judges, executive staff and ambassadors.

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