The War on Homosexual Criminalization

Adam Lenk, Features Editor

At a reception in Berlin, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell announced a global effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality. According to a 2017 report by ILGA, 72 countries still have laws criminalizing homosexuality, with 8 of these having it punishable by death. This new campaign would enlist the help of multiple organizations such as the European Union, and the United Nations. The campaign is focused on areas where homosexuality is illegal, places such as the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.  

This campaign is partly in reaction to the recent hanging of a young gay man in Iran. Although this campaign will be used to pressure and punish Iran more and more on human rights issues, it may leave the United States relations with other countries in the region fractured. Such countries as Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, all U.S. allies who all have some form of direct or indirect criminalization of homosexuality.

One example of this is Egypt, a country of whom President Trump has praised, has strict morality laws which discriminate and target homosexuals. Although the Trump administration’s protection of LGBT rights abroad has been increased, some LGBT rights right back at home in the U.S. have been scaled back, such as some workplace protections for members of the LGBT community, and a ban on trans people from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Ultimately, the impact of the Trump administration’s policy for LGBT peoples at home, and abroad, is inconclusive.