Congressmember Dina Titus, a five-term Democrat from Nevada, has proposed new legislation that would bolster the United States’ role in advocating for LGBTQ and intersex people’s rights around the world.
The Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act builds upon Obama-era tools used in the promotion of LGBTQI equality internationally. It would promote the use of sanctions against those who abuse and murder LGBTQI people, fill the position of Special Envoy for LGBTI Human Rights, and require human rights reports to contain LGBTQI-specific reporting.
The bill would also make sure foreign assistance and global health programs reach the most at-risk populations and demonstrate inclusivity for LGBTQI people.
Another notable aspect of the legislation is that it would provide fair access to asylum and refugee programs for LGBTQI people who are fleeing situations due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Earlier this year, a transgender woman from Honduras, Roxsana Hernandez, died in ICE custody and an autopsy revealed she suffered bruises consistent with abuse.
The GLOBE Act would also direct the State Department to ramp up its effort to ensure that LGBTQI diplomatic personnel, along with their families, are classified as “world-wide available,” removing any potential limitations on where they might be assigned.
The bill drew praise from LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign.
“While Donald Trump and Mike Pence remain recklessly silent on anti-LGBTQ atrocities around the globe, it’s crucial that the United States Congress fill the void and make clear LGBTQ rights are human rights,” HRC government affairs director David Stacy said in a written statement.
The proposal comes one month after the US State Department expressed its concern over “escalating attacks and legislative actions by the Government of Tanzania that violate civil liberties and human rights.”
The governor of that nation’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, announced a plan to begin arresting LGBTQ people in the city.
“We are troubled by the continued arrests and harassment of marginalized persons, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and others who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly,” the statement said.
In Kenya, advocacy groups are scrambling to relocate LGBTQ refugees from the Kakuma Refugee Camp after they were subjected to violence and discrimination. The refugees who protested the mistreatment became victims of even more brutal attacks, which left their homes “looted and unlivable,” a Refugee Coalition of East Africa (RCEA) told Gay City News.