June 18, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Will Trump continue Pride celebrations at US Embassies around the world?

From left, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark John Rufus Gifford, Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute President Aisha Moodie-Mills, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest and USAID Senior LGBT Coordinator Todd Larson speak on a panel at the Victory Fund’s International LGBT Leaders Conference on Dec. 8, 2016 at the Washington Hilton. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
From left, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark John Rufus Gifford, Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute President Aisha Moodie-Mills, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest and USAID Senior LGBT Coordinator Todd Larson speak on a panel at the Victory Fund’s International LGBT Leaders Conference on Dec. 8, 2016 at the Washington Hilton. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS  |  Former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest on Thursday said President-elect Trump’s administration should support U.S. efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad.

“It would look bad for Trump personally and for his administration more broadly if they were to suddenly just say no more Pride flags on embassies, no more Pride celebrations, ambassadors should not march,” he said during a panel at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute’s International LGBT Leaders Conference that took place at the Washington Hilton. “I just can’t quite imagine he would do that because it would look bad for him and it’s about the way he is viewed personally.”

Guest, who is a senior advisor for the Center for Global Equality, is the first openly gay ambassador confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He represented President George W. Bush’s administration in Romania from 2001-2004.

Guest joined U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster and Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry on the panel that Victory Institute President Aisha Moodie-Mills moderated. Todd Larson, senior LGBT coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development spoke at the beginning of the event.

Tamara Adrián, the first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly, was among the more than 100 elected officials and activists who attended the panel.

“There’s no turning back,” said Osius, speaking to his fellow panelists from the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi via Skype.

‘We can continue doing what we do’ under Trump

President Obama in 2011 directed agencies that implement U.S. foreign policy to promote LGBT rights abroad.

Argentina, the Netherlands, the Human Rights Campaign and the Arcus Foundation are among the contributors to the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the State Department manages with the U.S. Agency for International Development that seeks to promote LGBT rights around the world. Berry has traveled to Jamaica, Honduras, Ugandaand more than 40 other countries since he assumed his post within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in April 2015.

The U.S. in August 2015 co-sponsored the first-ever U.N. Security Council meeting on an LGBT-specific issue that focused on the so-called Islamic State’s persecution of LGBT Syrians and Iraqis. USAID’s rule that formally bans contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity took effect in October.

Osius, Gifford and Brewster are among the openly gay ambassadors that Obama appointed during his second term.

Trump has previously noted ISIS, which has publicly executed Iraqi and Syrian men who were accused of sodomy, and other Islamic extremist groups pose a threat to LGBT people. Vice President-elect Pence opposed U.S. efforts to promote gay rights abroadwhen he was a member of Congress.

It remains unclear whether the promotion of LGBT rights abroad will factor into the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Advocates with whom the Washington Blade has spoken since the election have urged the president-elect to leave current U.S. policy intact.

“I’m going to continue to do what I do as long as they let me,” said Osius during Thursday’s panel. “It will be hard to maintain the same momentum, but I think we can continue doing what we do.”

Randy Berry, the special U.S. envoy to promote global LGBT rights, center, speaks with gay Providencia (Chile) Councilman Jaime Parada, left, and then-LGBT Federation of Argentina President Estebán Paulón, right, on Oct. 2, 2015, during an LGBT rights conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)
Randy Berry, the special U.S. envoy to promote global LGBT rights, center, speaks with gay Providencia (Chile) Councilman Jaime Parada, left, and then-LGBT Federation of Argentina President Estebán Paulón, right, on Oct. 2, 2015, during an LGBT rights conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Gifford, who married his husband at Copenhagen City Hall in October 2015, acknowledged “we are undergoing a presidential tradition right now.”

“We cannot, cannot, cannot let up,” he added.

“If we’re not visible, you’re giving up,” said Brewster.

Obama’s 2013 decision to nominate Brewster as the next U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic sparked controversy among the country’s religious leaders.

Then-Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo described Brewster — who is married to Bob Satawake — as a “faggot” during a press conference that he held after Obama nominated him. Dominican advocates maintain that Brewster and Satawake have raised visibility around LGBT issues in spite of the criticism they have faced.

“Representation matters,” said Moodie-Mills.

Diversity remains ‘an issue’ at State Department

Moodie-Mills during the panel noted the Obama administration has faced criticism over its failure to nominate a lesbian, bisexual, trans person or an LGBT person of color to an ambassadorship. The panelists acknowledged this criticism.

Brewster, who noted his husband is Native American, said he is “confident” that Hillary Clinton would have nominated an openly lesbian woman to become an ambassador if she were elected. Gifford conceded he is “very frustrated with the lack of diversity within the State Department.”

From left, then-U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James ‘Wally’ Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra James Costos and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius spoke at a panel for openly gay U.S. ambassadors at the Newseum in D.C. on March 24, 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
From left, then-U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James ‘Wally’ Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra James Costos and U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius spoke at a panel for openly gay U.S. ambassadors at the Newseum in D.C. on March 24, 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“It continues to be an issue,” he said.

— special to The Pride LA from the National Gay Media Association and Washington Blade.

Related Posts

Toddler Fatally Struck by Relative’s RV at Dockweiler State Beach

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

2-Year-Old Child Lancaster Identified as Victim in Tragic Accident A toddler died Saturday after being struck by a relative who...

West Hollywood to Host Juneteenth Event Featuring Historian Dylan C. Penningroth

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

There Will Be a Discussion on Black Civil Rights History, Q&A session, Book Signing In celebration of Juneteenth, the City...

Texas Man Sentenced to 33 Months for Threatening U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Gaherty Targeted the Congresswoman With Racist and Violent Threats  A Texas man was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison...

LAUSD Considers Cell Phone Ban for Students During School Day

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Some Parents Object Citing Safety Issues During a Crisis The Los Angeles Unified School District is considering a policy that...

West Hollywood Resident Robbed at Gunpoint Near Sheriff’s Station After Pride

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Victim Recounts Harrowing Early Morning Encounter in Rainbow District A West Hollywood resident and his friends were heading home in...

Michelin-Starred Chef James Kent Passes Away, Saga Hospitality Group Announces

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Chef Kent Is Remembered for His Culinary Excellence and Charity Work The Saga Hospitality Group announced the death of Michelin-starred...

Film Review: Longlegs

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

LONGLEGS is pure poetic eldritch terror. From the very beginning, director Osgood Perkins uses the actors’ performances, cinematography, and even...

Two Men Arrested After Injuring Elderly Woman in Road Rage Incident at LAX

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Violent Altercation Hospitalized Elderly Passenger  Los Angeles Police Department detectives from the Pacific-LAX Division have arrested two men involved in...

Judge Rules in Favor of Tenants in Historic West Los Angeles Eviction Case

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Landlord’s Eviction Plan Under Ellis Act Rejected, Tenants Can Stay After a lengthy legal battle that spanned over a year,...

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

Culver City Police Collaborate with VA and LASD to Aid Unhoused Veteran

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Joint Efforts Lead to Successful Assistance for a Veteran in Need The Culver City Police Mental Evaluation Team collaborated with...

University of Miami President to Replace Gene Block Amid Controversy

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Julio Frenk Named New UCLA Chancellor at UC Regents Meeting The search for a new chancellor at UCLA is over....

West Hollywood Kicks Off WeHo Pride Arts Festival This Weekend

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Celebration Features Diverse LGBTQ+ Events From June 14-16 Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of...

30th Anniversary of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman Murders Commemorated with Virtual Vigil

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Family Honors Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in Virtual Candlelight Vigil This week marks the 30th anniversary of the...

Los Angeles County Launches Historic LGBTQ+ Commission with Inaugural Meeting

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Supervisor Hilda Solis Leads Ceremony Marking Milestone for LGBTQ+ Advocacy Los Angeles County Supervisors convened Tuesday to inaugurate the county’s...