Canada is the latest country to join a U.S. initiative that seeks to promote LGBTI rights around the world.
The State Department and the Canadian government in a May 17 press release that announced Canada joined the Global Equality Fund said both countries "recognize that protecting and respecting human rights is the responsibility of all governments, and that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are not different or separate from the human rights of anyone else." The press release also notes Canada's contribution to the fund will specifically provide "emergency assistance to LGBTI persons under threat of violence."
"Through the Global Equality Fund, like-minded governments, foundations and corporations provide support to civil society organizations working to promote the inclusion of and respect for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or sex characteristics," it reads.
The fund — which is a public-private partnership — have given tens of millions of dollars to LGBTI advocacy groups since its 2011 launch.
Argentina, Australia, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Uruguay are the other countries that contribute to the fund. The Arcus Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign and the Royal Bank of Canada are among the non-governmental organizations and foundations that are among the other contributors.
The announcement that Canada has joined the fund coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia that commemorates the World Health Organization's decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The U.S. continues to promote LGBTI rights abroad, even though the Trump administration's record on these issues domestically and its overall foreign policy has come under intense criticism.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.