Russia, the plans to build a wall, Russia, North Korea, traveling prohibitions, Russia … there’s a lot occurring around the world right now.
Amid the chaos, Joe Biden doesn’t want us to forget about protecting and expanding LGBTQ rights at home and overseas.
In a powerful op-ed in The Washington Post published May 16, 2017, Biden pleads with Americans to stay informed on the perils faced by LGBTQ people abroad.
In the article, written in recognition of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, Biden notes the progress celebrated( and setbacks faced) by LGBTQ Americans. But the former vice president chose to focus the piece on the persecution of LGBTQ people in places like Syria, Uganda, and most notably Chechnya.
Biden wrote 😛 TAGEND
“In Syria and Iraq, LGBT someones face terror and torturing, often at the hands of the Islamic State. Countries such as Russia where appalling reports lately surfaced that authorities in Chechnya were imprisoning and torturing individuals believed to be lesbian or bisexual Uganda and Tanzania continue to be openly hostile to LGBT people, and their political leaders have utilized anti-American sentiment to fuel anti-LGBT hate. And in many parts of the world, the horrific assault of ‘corrective rape‘ is used as an extreme sort of conversion therapy to try to turn women straight.”
As Biden mentioned, more than a hundred Chechen humen suspected of “nontraditional” sexual practices have quietly been arrested and held in what some reports describe as modern-day concentration camps.
Weeks have gone by since news of the atrocities began trickling out of Chechnya, a semi-independent state of Russia. Yet many world leaders, including President Donald Trump, have not publicly condemned the actions. On May 17, 2017, BuzzFeed News reported the U.S. is denying visas for Chechen humen escaping persecution.
Biden went on to note culture differences are never an excuse for human rights violations 😛 TAGEND
“Many times, this kind of discrimination, harassment and violence is justified in the name of ‘culture.’ This offensive argument ignores the fundamental truth that LGBT rights are human rights. Prejudice is prejudice; inhumanity is inhumanity. Using religion or culture to license discrimination and demonizing LGBT someones to score political phases are no more justifiable around the world than they are here at home.”
Biden was a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights as a senator and vice president. Now that he’s out of office, he clearly doesn’t want us becoming complacent.
Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys. pic.twitter.com/ 0om1PT7bKh
VP Biden( Archived) (@ VP44) August 1, 2016
Here’s what you can you can do to keep advance pushing onward:
If you’re concerned about what’s happening in Chechnya, check out the Russian LGBT Network a Moscow-based group helping gay and bisexual humen escape persecution. If you want to help LGBTQ refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq, the Organization for Refuge, Asylum, and Migration is a terrific group doing important run. And if you want to help push advance forward in the U.S ., organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality and many others are doing just that.