Taken together, Blinken’s comments during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signal a clear departure from the Trump administration’s approach to LGBTQI protections as Biden looks to usher in a new era of equality.
While the position of special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons was left vacant under the Trump administration, Blinken said Tuesday that appointing someone to the role is “a matter, I think, of some real urgency.”
“We’ve seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase. We’ve seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of color, that we’ve seen ever,” Blinken said.
“And so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the Department is going to take on and take on immediately.”
The Trump administration for years has reversed, dropped, removed and withdrawn established LGBTQI protections and has been particularly hostile toward transgender Americans.
If confirmed, Blinken said, he aims to reengage with Congress in a bipartisan fashion, an implicit criticism of his predecessor’s combative relationship with some lawmakers.