US: Whitehouse Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is Not at All What it Seems

Mary Emily O'Hara @MaryEmilyOHara Associate Editor at @INTO. Formerly of @them  @msnbc  @nbcnews  @nbcout@dailydot  @vicenews etc.

In this op-ed, Mary Emily O'Hara explains why Trump's plan to decriminalize homosexuality is suspect, especially after he's made life worse for LGBTQ people at home.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced a new global effort to decriminalize homosexuality in countries where it’s still illegal to be gay. If that sounds puzzling to you, you aren’t alone — the Trump administration has been anything but friendly to LGBTQ equality in the two years since taking office. And at a Wednesday press conference, President Trump himself appeared to have no idea the initiative was even happening, further adding to the confusion over why one of the most pointedly anti-LGBTQ White Houses in history is suddenly concerned with eradicating global anti-gay laws.

So what is this move, announced by Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay official, really about? Turns out it’s likely a smoke screen for a nuclear power grab. Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany and a vocal critic of Iran who has, according to NBC News, “aggressively pressed European nations to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions” since he was appointed. Lately, Grenell has turned to a new tactic: amplifying Iran’s January hanging of a man accused of breaking the country’s anti-gay laws to raise opposition against the Iranian government. And the U.S. ambassador is transparently manipulating LGBTQ advocates in what is just his latest attempt to force sanctions against Iran. Why Iran? Because Grenell is little more than Trump’s puppet, placed in Europe to help lobby the president’s obsession with Iran — an obsession that has been called “dangerous” by Foreign Affairs, “destructive” by The American Conservative, and “unnecessary” by the Washington Examiner. Grenell’s oft-used hashtag on Twitter belies his true role: #sanctionsareworking.

After penning a February 1 op-ed about the hanging in a top German newspaper, Bild, NBC News reports Grenell is heading a strategic effort to gather LGBTQ leaders and get them to fight Iran on behalf of LGBTQ rights, after months of placing “daily” pressure on European companies to adhere to anti-Iran sanctions. U.S. officials told NBC News, which broke the story on Tuesday, February 19, that Grenell had invited LGBTQ activists from around Europe to a dinner at which they would be invited to help plan a decriminalization push focused on the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. Read more via Teen Vogue