At the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump surprised the nation by mentioning for the first time outside of Twitter about a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality. In a part of his 30-minute speech discussing many topics, Trump stated, “My administration is working with other nations to stop criminalizing of homosexuality. And we stand in solidarity with LGBT people who live in countries that punish, jail and execute people based upon sexual orientation.” Some supported the president’s message, including White House Depity Press Secretary Judd Deere and Log Cabin Republicans board chair Bob Kabel. Defending Trump’s words, Deere said, “It was an opportunity to deliver an important message to world leaders and a global audience that the U.S. will not stand for the criminalization of homosexuality.
Others wonder if Trump’s words are as sincere as they might seem, considering his administration’s still anti-LGBT practices. For example, the Trump administration has implemented a military ban on transgenders and excluded the discrimination of LGBT people in anti- discrimination laws. David Stacy, the HRC government affairs director has commented, “Trump has no credibility to speak about LGBTQ human rights abroad when he has done so much to damage them here at home, from banning trans people from the military to proposing that medical providers can deny care to LGBTQ patients and permitting federal contractors to fire employees for being LGBTQ.” Further, Outright International executive director Jessica Stern strongly stated, “Throwing in a reference to opposing the criminalization of same-sex relations while at the same time stating that the national supersedes the international, and that tradition and culture are sacred, is one more example of President Trump’s hypocrisy. LGBTIQ people across the world, including in the U.S., do not feel safe or protected within their borders and are often attacked under the guise of tradition. In all too many places, international standards have been the only avenue for LGBTIQ people to have our rights recognized, to seek remedy for crimes committed against us, and for pushing nations to accept that human rights belong to all, including, explicitly, LGBTIQ people.”