Senators Markey, Shaheen and Merkley and Congresswoman Titus Introduce Legislation to Promote LGBTQI+ Rights Around the World

Leading Global Jewish Human Rights Organization calls on Congress to pass the GLOBE Act

Background

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people around the globe face stigma, legal discrimination, violence and even death simply because of who they are or whom they love. In 69 countries, engaging in same-sex sexual relations is illegal; 10 of these countries may impose the death penalty for violations of such laws. Meanwhile, LGBTQI+ people face barriers to services such as formal employment, health care, housing, and education without enumerated legal protections, undermining their human rights and dignity. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequities that that LGBTQI+ people face worldwide.

In this context of ongoing challenges to the human rights and dignity of LGBTQI+ people worldwide, Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy at American Jewish World Service (AJWS) released the statement below in response to the introduction of the Greater Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act of 2021. This piece of legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House respectively by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV).

Statement of Rori Kramer, Director of US Advocacy for American Jewish World Service

“At a time when bigotry, acts of hate and legal persecution continue against LGBTQI+ people worldwide, we applaud Senators Markey, Shaheen and Merkley and Congresswoman Titus for introducing powerful legislation that sets forth a vision of justice for LGBTQI+ people and would protect and promote the human rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people around the world.

“We urge the United States government to build a foreign policy that bolsters the human rights and dignity of LGBTQI+ people around the world. To that end, we believe that the GLOBE Act is guided by a vision for justice for LGBTQI+ people, and it creates the framework for an inclusive U.S. foreign policy that would begin to meet the wide-ranging needs of LGBTQI+ people in U.S. foreign policy, including global health, foreign aid, multilateral diplomacy, and asylum and immigration.

“We welcome several key provisions within the legislation that would enhance sexual and reproductive health and rights for members of the LGBTQI+ community. We are deeply gratified that the GLOBE Act would require reporting on the effects of the global gag rule on LGBTQI+ people, who faced disproportionate restrictions on their access to health care services due to the expansion of the global gag rule under the Trump administration. The global gag rule caused providers who had delivered health care to LGBTQI+ people without discrimination to be shuttered or forced them to curtail their services, leaving many without access to trusted care. This report would be the first from the US government that would review the specific harms of this draconian policy on LGBTQI+ people on LGBTQI+ people. We are also gratified that the GLOBE Act eliminates obstacles for people to access comprehensive HIV treatment and prevention in U.S. global health assistance. The GLOBE Act enables greater access to HIV treatment by repealing the anti-prostitution loyalty oath (APLO), a statute that restricts HIV funding for service providers abroad that advocate for the decriminalization of sex work, and is essentially a cruel and unjust policy further stigmatizing sex workers, including those in the LGBTQI+ community. Moreover, the APLO wrongfully conflates human trafficking and sex work, increasing stigma and discrimination against those who find employment in sex work, including LGBTQI+ people.

“As a Jewish organization committed to upholding the dignity of all people, we stand with LGBTQI+ people around the world, and we urge the United States to be a visionary leader in the fight for global LGBTQI+ rights.

“We are grateful to Senators Markey, Shaheen and Merkley and Congresswoman Titus, and their colleagues for demanding a U.S. foreign policy that centers the human rights of the most marginalized people, including LGBTQI+ people. We call on members of Congress to immediately cosponsor this legislation and push for its passage in order to protect and promote the rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world.”

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Madeline Cohen at mcohen@ajws.org during AJWS office hours from 9 am to 5 pm eastern time, Monday through Thursday. If you are on an urgent deadline on a Friday, over a weekend or during evening hours, please write Stuart Schear at sschear@ajws.org.