The First 100 Days of OutRight Resistance

Saturday, 29th April, marked President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office prompting much analysis on this administration’s performance and policies over the last few months. Following the analysis of Trump’s first 100 days, OutRight decided to summarize our own actions since the new administration assumed power.

From the nascency of this administration taking office, OutRight has been vocal in our condemnation of this administration’s xenophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee, anti-women and anti-immigrant policies that perpetuate discrimination and promote divisiveness. We have responded to and commented on many of the Executive Orders, as well as domestic and foreign affairs decisions that have a direct impact on LGBTIQ people in the United States and around the world.

At the onset, OutRight reacted to Nikki Haley’s confirmation as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations and Rex Tillerson’s confirmation as the United States Secretary of State. OutRight examined their responses to questions during their Senate confirmation hearings and questions for the record and provided a global LGBTIQ perspective on their remarks. Even though they avoided explicit mention of LGBTIQ, both stated that they see non-discrimination - of everyone - as “American values.” OutRight will continue to monitor what they say and do, both at the domestic and international level, to keep them accountable.

OutRight has been contacted by international media to provide perspective on multiple issues concerning the Trump administration’s policies. This was the case when President Trump revoked a guidance allowing transgender students to use facilities of their choosing that best matched their gender identity. Not only issuing a press release about how Trump’s attack on transgender students has an international impact, OutRight was also asked to comment for outlets from Lebanon to Ireland.

In March, the President signed an Executive Order to block citizens of six majority Muslim countries from entering the United States. Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight, highlighted that,

“If the White House thinks this travel ban will make Americans safer, that’s only because it ignored logic and facts. The way to make Americans safer is by demonstrating respect for people from every country. We categorically reject the notion that scapegoating 6 Muslim nations, refugees and asylum seekers in the name of so-called counter-terrorism makes Americans safer. This is discrimination by another name.

By closing the doors to LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees, Trump is effectively endorsing persecution and violence targeting this community and allowing some LGBTIQ people to die.”

An effect of a “travel ban” is the hindrance of political participation at UN Headquarters in New York. In response, OutRight joined forces with six other organizations to launch the No Borders on Gender Justice campaign. Along with our partners, we took on the United Nations’ annual conference on women, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which began amidst President Trump’s discriminatory policies, and ensured that the negative impact of the travel ban was clearly articulated to members states of the United Nations and at UN side events. The campaign also encouraged attendees to leave seats open at events, including at the Secretary General’s Town Hall meeting, with posters to bring attention to the women who were barred from participating at the CSW as a result of the xenophobic policy.

When the administration appointed hate group C-Fam to the official government CSW delegation, OutRight took action. Our press release which exposed C-Fam’s involvement at the Commission on the Status of Women generated significant media coverage, including in Reuters, The Independent, The Canadian Press, and The Advocate, among others. Along with a coalition of partners and persistent pressure, this matter was escalated to the office of Ambassador Nikki Haley. The C-Fam President himself complains that an “anonymous member of the U.S. State Department said he was not aware of all the awful things we had done and said.”  

It is clear that the US can not be counted on to promote the rights of women and LGBTIQ people in international fora. This administration has announced funding cuts to the UN and is putting forward proposals to defund USAID and the State Department's office on Global Women’s Issues.

Through engagement with mission states and the LGBT Core Group at the United Nations in New York, OutRight works actively and in coalition to ensure that where President Trumps policies threaten the international system, that other actors mobilize to fill the vacuum.

OutRight will continue to work to ensure that this administration is aware of the far reaching implications of national policies on the lives and rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere.