Metro Weekly

U.S. Ambassadors say trade agreement will help LGBT lives

Eight openly gay administration officials say approving Obama trade agenda will further human rights abroad

“An export is more than just an item we are shipping overseas. It is also a product of the values of the people who created it, which it represents.”


— An open letter signed by the seven out gay U.S. ambassadors and the out gay Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, posted on the White House website, that touts President Obama’s trade agenda as a way to further LGBT7 equality abroad.

The officials acknowledge they are currently working in their host countries to promote new trade initiatives like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been extremely controversial among members of the president’s own party, in part because Democrats feel the agreement will leave American workers with the short end of the stick. The TPP has already become a campaign issue, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders calling out Hillary Clinton for not taking a position on it.

“Through the President’s trade agenda, we will not only support more American jobs, but we can also promote greater justice beyond our borders,” the letter goes on to read. “Done right, trade policy is a strong complement to our broader bilateral efforts to urge partner countries to defend and protect the human rights of all individuals. In many ways, the two issues go together: open markets promote development, raise wages, and increase living standards, which in turn goes hand-in-hand with more open and engaged societies that demand a higher standard of protection for civil rights.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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