Rainbow Railroad Applauds the Historic Biden Administration Action to Advance the Rights of LGBTQI+ People Globally
New York – Rainbow Railroad applauds the Biden administration’s release of a comprehensive memorandum yesterday which reinstates America’s leadership on the promotion of LGBTQI+ rights internationally.
“This action is historic,” said Rainbow Railroad Executive Director Dr. Kimahli Powell. “It is a repudiation of a politics of fear and hatred promoted by the Trump administration about refugees and asylum seekers which prevented the United States from being deemed a safe sanctuary. We applaud this sea change in the U.S. approach, and are hopeful for the rights not just of LGBTQI+ people everywhere, but all those impacted by the global refugee crisis.”
A centrepiece of the memorandum is a commitment to restore the United States refugee administration program (USRAP), which was gutted by the Trump administration. The memorandum commits to increase the agency’s resettlement targets to 125,000 people in the first year and improve the capacity of the organization to identify and process LGBTQI+ asylum seekers.
The United States is re-asserting a leadership role on global LGBTQI+ rights at a perilous time. In recent years, progress on LGBTQI+ rights internationally has been mixed, as some states have stalled in their rescinding of homophobic or transphobic laws, or even written new ones. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated underlying homophobic and transphobic prejudice in some states, resulting in crackdowns and mass arrests.
This memorandum is a powerful signal by the Biden administration that they intend to make the promotion of LGBTQI+ rights internationally a priority at a time when it is sorely needed. Rainbow Railroad welcomes this development and stands ready to work as a key civil society partner to ensure better outcomes for LGBTQI+ people globally.
About Rainbow Railroad:
Rainbow Railroad is an international non-profit organization that helps LGBTQI people seek safe haven from state-led violence and persecution in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. To date, the organization has moved over 1000 people to safer countries.