French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced Thursday that France would appoint an ambassador for LGBTQ rights. The government would charge the new LGBTQ Ambassador with advocating for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality and trans identity.
The Prime Minister made the announcement on the 40th anniversary of France’s decriminalization of homosexuality.
She said the government will appoint someone to the new ambassadorship by the end of 2022. The role will primarily involve fighting discrimination around the world.
The move follows France’s recent removal of Senegal from its list of safe countries of origin. Gays face an increased risk of violence in the former French colony as a result of rising homophobia.
Anti-LGBTQ Sengalese activists recently stepped up campaigns against LGBTQ rights in the Muslim-majority country. Additionally, a backlash in France against football star and Sengalese national hero Gana Gueye for refusing to wear a rainbow jersey created antagonism to both France and the LGBTQ communities in his home country. Homophobic memes flooded Sengalese social media pages.
The PM’s announcement also follows an LGBTQ backlash in France to a government minister’s refusal to back away from 2013 comments describing France’s gay marriage and adoption laws as a ‘caprice’ that goes ‘against nature’.
Minister for Territorial Cohesion Caroline Cayeux made the situation worse when she claimed not to be prejudiced while defending the comments.
“I have a lot of friends among all those people.”
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne described the comments as shocking but dismissed the controversy because of the minister’s subsequent apology.
“The President of the Republic’s approach, my approach, the government’s approach is not ambiguous: we will continue to fight to make progress on the rights of the LGBTQ.”
But we’ll have to see what success the French LGBTQ Ambassador enjoys. As recently as 2015, the Vatican ignored the appointment of an openly gay man as French Ambassador to the Holy See.
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