In February 2021, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order to US government agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”
Reporting by 76Crimes now looks at how that has translated into soft diplomacy initiatives on the ground - focusing on Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh - three of the 26 nations in Asia where where homosexual activity is illegal.
In Uzbekistan, the US Embassy raised the issue of decriminalisation with the government of Uzbekistan. The embassy is coordinating with human rights organisations and international business leaders to highlight the potential economic benefits of becoming a more open society.
In Bangladesh, the US Embassy has undertaken a project titled Rights for Gender Diverse Populations. The project offers participants tools to face discrimination at the individual and societal levels and normalise discussions of queerness.
It's clear that progress is slow, but having US officials tasked to raise the human rights of LGBTQ people is likely to be of some benefit to marginalised queer people struggling for visibility and equality.