On Feb. 4, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a presidential memorandum aimed at expanding protection of the rights of LGBTQI people worldwide, including potentially through the use of financial sanctions, U.S. News & World Report reported.
"All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love," stated the memorandum.
While a presidential memorandum is largely symbolic, Biden campaigned on a pledge to pass LGBTQ rights legislation known as the Equality Act in the first 100 days of his administration and to make LGBTQ rights a top priority.
In a press release sent to Windy City Times, OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern said, in part, "We celebrate the arrival of President Biden's presidential memorandum advancing the rights of LGBTQI people globally, its timing indicating that LGBTQI equality is a foreign policy priority from the earliest days of his administration.
"We appreciate its affirmation and expansion of its 2011 predecessor, for the first time naming discrimination based on 'gender expression' and 'sex characteristics', including 'queer' and 'intersex' rights, and recognizing violence by non-state actors as central to the policy's scope of concern. We take note that the memorandum instructs all US agencies engaged abroad and/or with foreign assistance to actively expand their work for LGBTQI equality, work that still has far to go.
"All governments should explicitly include LGBTQI rights as domestic and foreign policy priorities but, unfortunately, most do not. May this policy be the floor [and] not the ceiling, be fully funded and implemented, and inspire other governments to protect LGBTQI people with a holistic strategy based on the principle of dignity."