State Dept. Posts Pompeo's Statement Promoting LGBTI Rights in Some Countries--But Not Saudi Arabia

Emily Ward | January 10, 2019 | 10:51am EST
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President Donald Trump holds
a pro-gay rainbow flag during
the 2016 campaign. (YouTube)

( -- On June 1, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement acknowledging Pride Month and expressing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people throughout the world. However, the State Department only posted this statement on the websites of U.S. embassies in certain countries, while leaving out others--including Libya, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Notably, the U.S. embassies in nine of the top 10 worst countries for LGBTI rights did not post Pompeo’s pro-LGBTI message on their websites.

According to Spartacus Blog’s 2018 Gay Travel Index, which ranks the friendliest and least friendly countries for LGBTI Americans to visit, the top 10 worst countries are, in order from worst to best, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malawi, Libya, Cameroon and Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  (Getty Images)

Among those countries, apparently only the website of the U.S. Virtual Embassy to Iran displayed Pompeo’s pro-LGBTI message.

Of the top 10 best countries for LGBTI rights, on the other hand, there was no discernable pattern as to which countries’ U.S. embassy websites displayed the message and which did not.

The top 10 best countries for LGBTI rights, according to Spartacus Blog, are Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

From what could discover, the LGBTI Pride Month statement was posted at the U.S. embassy in Netherlands and on Facebook and Twitter for the embassy in New Zealand.

The statement was also posted at the U.S. embassy websites for Ukraine, BrazilLuxembourgChile, Paraguay, and Albania

In his message, Pompeo reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to “protecting and defending the human rights of all, including LGBTI persons.”

“In many parts of the world, LGBTI individuals and their supporters continue to face violence, arrest, harassment and intimidation for standing up for their human rights, participating in peaceful marches and rallies, expressing their views, and simply being who they are,” Pompeo wrote.

“LGBTI persons – like all persons – must be free to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, without fear of reprisal,” he continued.

LGBT supporters in Berlin, Germany.  (Getty Images)

Pompeo concluded his message by wishing everyone a “safe and happy” Pride Month.

When asked the State Department how it decided which countries’ U.S. embassy websites would receive Pompeo’s pro-LGBTI message and which would not, the department did not answer the question, writing that its communications with the media were currently “limited” due to the “lapse in appropriations.”

The U.S. State Department has not yet been funded for fiscal year 2019.

Spartacus Blog’s travel index ranks each country based on 14 criteria, including legality of gay marriage, prevalence of anti-discrimination laws, bans on Pride parades and danger of persecution, imprisonment or execution on the basis of sexual choice. The site uses data from Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Free & Equal campaign to compile its index.

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