The head of the LGBTQ Victory Institute blamed fundamentalism, populism and nationalism as three factors “eroding democracies” Wednesday night at the welcome reception for its annual conference for international LGBTQ leaders.
Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund & Victory Institute, said the remarks at the event at the Atlantic Council in a speech welcoming attendees to the 2019 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference.
Parker, asserting LGBTQ people are facing challenges around the globe, said places once considered safe havens have ramped up “marginalization, discrimination and violence” against them.
“I daresay the United States at one point seemed to be on the way to being a safe haven, and we have taken some big steps backward recently,” Parker said. “Fundamentalism, populism and nationalism are eroding democracies from Europe to the Americas and legitimate concerns of citizens are being exploited to target immigrants, people of color, LGBTQI and others who they deem different.”
Parker made the remarks at the end of the first day of the conference, which featured panels on the state of the LGBTQ community at international level. One panel discussed the state of LGBTQ rights in Brazil, where anti-LGBTQ Jair Bolsonaro was recently elected president.
Despite her dire assessment, Parker said “there are really reasons to be optimistic,” citing the election of the first openly gay man and first openly HIV positive person as a lawmaker in Guatemala and the election of the first openly LGBTQI person as mayor of Bogota, Columbia.
In the United States, President Trump has embraced nationalism as a major theme for his administration, using it to justify a more isolationist foreign policy and harsh immigration practices. In a recent speech at the United Nations, Trump said “the future does not belong to the globalists.”