President Barrack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced this week a memorandum which contains instructions for federal agencies that work abroad to work to improve the lives of the LGBT community in other countries. The instructions dictate an emphasis on upholding the human rights of LGBT people and on establishing an opposition to the criminalization of simply being a member of the LGBT community and being who you are. The document also stipulated the need for better safeguards for those seeking asylum to come into the United States.
This acknowledgement of the Obama Administration of the terrors which befall the LGBT community abroad and the willingness to present aid to those individuals is a great move for the country, indicating an enthusiasm for the improvement of the lives of people globally. In many countries, besides facing discrimination, an individual can be thrown in jail or even executed simply for being who he or she is. Knowing the US has stepped up into a role which will help to prevent these awful, everyday occurrences, gives me more hope for someday. As the world continues to change and grow, it is dedication to work like this which will allow us to progress in a direction which precludes any kind of discrimination. Though that day is far from now, each individual step in the approach to that time is essential.
While this is a great victory, we must also be aware of its exclusivity. A memorandum can be overturned by a future administration as it is only an informal order from the current administration, one which can be enforced, but is not yet permanent. It is important to remember this and work to influence a permanent change despite the political climate of the time.