The State Department has launched a fund that seeks to bolster LGBTQ rights around the world.
A press release the State Department released on Friday says the Global LGBTQI+ Inclusive Democracy and Empowerment (GLIDE) Fund will “provide up to $5 million … to facilitate the participation and leadership of LGBTQI+ community members in democratic institutions.”
The GLIDE Fund is a program under the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the U.S. helped launched in 2011 that seeks to promote LGBTQ rights around the world. A State Department spokesperson earlier this week told the Washington Blade the Swedish International Development Agency and the U.S. provided the GLIDE Fund’s initial funding.
Friday’s announcement coincides with International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the U.N. General Assembly’s ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948. It also took place on the last day of the White House’s Summit for Democracy.
Equal Rights Coalition reaffirms commitment to LGBTQ rights
The U.S. and other members of the Equal Rights Coalition, which seeks to promote LGBTQ rights around the world, on Friday issued a statement to “affirm that the revitalization of democracy within our own nations and around the world is essential to promoting and protecting human rights, especially for those in the most vulnerable situations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.”
“Threats to the rule of law, rising levels of inequality, authoritarianism and corruption are eroding democracy in every region, with grave consequences for the LGBTI community, among others,” reads the statement. “Persistent criminalization of LGBTI status and ongoing violence and discrimination undermine the possibility of LGBTI persons to fully participate in democratic and political processes.”
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, the U.K. and Uruguay signed the Equal Rights Coalition statement alongside the U.S.
“Members of this coalition affirm our interest to work together over the coming year to support and empower the participation of LGBTI persons in the full range of democratic processes, including elections; political campaigns; civil society advocacy and oversight; journalism and independent reporting; and political leadership,” it reads.
The Biden administration in February issued a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.
The Council for Global Equality and F&M Global Barometers earlier this week released a series of report cards that rank countries on their LGBTQ rights records. The report cards indicate the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries in terms of protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.