March 2, 2021 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

Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Shot And Her Dogs Stolen

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker, was the victim of a brutal robbery in West Hollywood Wednesday night.  30 year...

Anti-LGBTQ Talk Show Host Rush Limbaugh Dies At 70 – E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 24th, 2021

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. ⁃ Rush Limbaugh Dead At 70...

Converse Gay Rights Valentine’s Day Shoe Collection

February 14, 2021

February 14, 2021

The “always in trend” shoe company Converse released a new shoe collection celebrating gay rights.  It features the classic high-top...

The Pride Poets’ Corner “Death Sentence” By: Victor Yates

February 11, 2021

February 11, 2021

In honor of Black History Month The Pride’s featured poem this month is by poet Victor Yates.  Yates is a...

Get the Most out of Your Tax Filing With Mofrad Financial Solutions

February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021

Local finance firm meeting the needs of small/medium sized businesses and individuals Tax season is fast approaching – and to...

Lesbian Police Officer Named Hero After Christmas Day Bombing- E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 10th, 2021

February 10, 2021

February 10, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. * Lesbian Police Officer Named Hero...

Hal Holbrook, Actor Who Played Mark Twain, Dies At 95

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Hal Holbrook, the actor best known for his accurate portrayal of Samuel Clemens — better known as Mark Twain —...

Trans Pride Flag Crossing Coming to WeHo – E.P.I.C Pride Show, February 3rd, 2021

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. *Gay Black Man Stabbed Left In...

Black History Month: Celebrating Bayard Rustin

January 31, 2021

January 31, 2021

Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Due to criticism...

We-Drive Ins Opening New Location In Santa Monica

January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

WE Drive-Ins has announced the opening of an exclusive premiere drive-in experience featuring all new release films, with their newest...

Trailblazing Actress Cicely Tyson Dies At 96

January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

Iconic actress, former model and civil rights activist Cicely Tyson has died at the age of 96.  Tyson’s manager Larry...

Award Decorated Actress, Cloris Leachman, Dead At 94

January 27, 2021

January 27, 2021

Cloris Leachman, Oscar and Emmy winning actress, has died at the age of 94 from natural causes at her home...

True Blood Getting A Reboot- E.P.I.C Pride Show, January 27th, 2021

January 27, 2021

January 27, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. *True Blood Getting A Reboot *John...

L.A. Queer Woman Being Deported From Bali

January 24, 2021

January 24, 2021

Former Los Angeles resident and graphic designer Kristen Antoinette Gray is being deported from Bali over her viral tweets that...

Iconic Talk Show Host Larry King, An LGBTQ Ally, Dies At 87

January 23, 2021

January 23, 2021

Larry King, the iconic talk show host and LGBTQ ally died on Saturday Jan. 23rd.  A statement was posted on...