Why the Trump Administration is Pushing to Globally Decriminalize Homosexuality

Amidst our president’s daily deluge of polarizing tweets and questionable understanding of politics, Richard Grenell, the Trump administration’s openly gay Ambassador to Germany, has recently announced a push towards globally decriminalizing homosexuality.


During a diplomatic meeting with numerous European LGBTQ activists in Berlin, Grenell spoke about the ever-present issue of violence against the LGBTQ community in countries such as Iran, where a 32-year-old man was executed this past year because of his sexual orientation. Grenell hopes to target a total of 71 countries across the globe that still legally discriminate against the LGBTQ community with penalities such as life imprisonment and even death.


Yet, what does decriminalizing homosexuality mean, exactly? And why is our historically LGBTQ-unfriendly president suddenly on board with this campaign?


To answer our first question, Grenell explained that the campaign will specifically focus on ending LGBTQ-directed violence and systematic criminalization of homosexuality, rather than attempting to legalize gay marriage on a global scale. Grenell claims that he has spoken to multiple senators (yet declined to specify which politicians he was referring to) who are in support of using U.S. economic aid as a bargaining chip to incentivise regressive governments to end laws that criminalize homosexuality (nbcnews.com).


Grenell claims that his plan is receiving overwhelming support from both sides. However, according to an article written by Mathew Rodriguez for Out Magazine, this sudden push towards global tolerance is simply “an old racist tactic” (out.com). Rodriguez quotes Josh Lederman, the author of the original NBC article on Grenell’s meeting in Berlin, “We know Trump is very focused on Iran and is looking for ways to demonize it in the public opinion and this is one area where you know the US and European countries see eye to eye on Iran.”



According to Yahoo! News, the president himself is apparently unaware of Grenell’s plans. In the recent past, Trump has had a sub-standard track record when it comes to supporting the LGBTQ community (politico.com). In light of Ambassador Grenell’s plans to help end anti-homosexuality laws across the globe, the president seems to have simply missed the memo. When asked about his administration’s push to decriminalize homosexuality, Trump responded by saying, “I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.”


Though Grenell’s announcement seems to be made with the best of intentions, we should try to step back and look at the broader picture. The proposed tactics being implemented to repeal anti-LGBTQ laws in the 71 target countries may weaken our diplomatic ties with many important allies. This campaign may well be a way for the current presidential administration to distract us from other underlying political motives.


If you are looking for ways to get involved in helping the LGBTQ community, email your local politicians and ask them to push for better legislation, volunteer in your community, and check out this list of resources to learn about more ways you can help: glaad.org