The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and Olivia Companies to combat discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities in third world countries.
Together, these groups will contribute $11 million to protect LGBT groups against violence and discrimination and allow them to expand to include more people. USAID will also become more involved in the political processes of developing countries and help pass anti-violence and anti-discrimination laws.
Currently, homosexuality is illegal in over 80 countries and territories, seven of which enforce the death penalty for people caught in same-sex relationships. USAID and its partner organizations hope to change this. As Hilary Clinton said in a 2001 speech, “gay rights are human rights.” Now that President Obama has spoken in support of the gay rights initiative, advocacy groups and USAID have the backing they need to push the agenda forward.
When training begins at the end of May, we will begin to see the LGBT community become more involved in the political process. USAID and its partners are starting their program in Colombia, where the local mayor and the head of the city’s welfare agency, a transgender woman, will attend the training event.
There are 19 countries where it is illegal to discriminate against homosexuals and about 12 countries that permit same-sex marriage. These countries include Argentina, Canada, Spain and South Africa. As more LGBT leaders are elected and gay people become involved in politics, it is likely that more countries will be added to this list.
– Mary Penn
Source: Washington Blade