President Trump’s campaign to decriminalize homosexuality across the world is motivated by racism, a colonial sense of paternalism, and an urge to pick on ‘brown-skinned’ countries like Iran.
Or so insists a comment piece by a gay activist at the LGBTQ+ journal Out.com.
“Trump’s Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic,” says the headline.
Below, Mathew Rodriguez claims:
Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.
Rodriguez is especially concerned about the plight of Iran. Sure it hangs gay men from cranes now and again. But that shouldn’t distract us from the fact when people like the Trump administration’s top-ranked gay official Richard Grennell – now the US ambassador to Germany – express concerns about Iran, it’s really just a form of repressed racism and colonialism.
Grennell’s sudden interest in Iran’s anti-gay laws is strikingly similar to Trump’s rhetoric after the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida. After the deadly shooting, Trump used the 49 deaths as a way to galvanize support for an anti-Muslim agenda rather than find a way to support LGBTQ+ people. In pushing for immigration restrictions and a Muslim ban, Trump argued, he was the true pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. Rather than honor those who died, Trump used the tragedy as a way to stoke fear among the American people, and Grennell is taking similar actions with Iran — trying to reach an economic goal by painting the administration’s opponent as anti-gay.
Rodriguez’s article will no doubt prove a massive eye-opener to oppressed homosexuals around the world. Once they realize that Trump’s motivation for rescuing them from being hanged, imprisoned, pushed off tall buildings, beaten up or deprived of their livelihoods has nothing to do with concern for their well being, they will surely resist his wicked scheme and lend their support wholeheartedly to the regimes oppressing them.
They might also be encouraged to learn more about how evil conservatives like Trump are by acquainting themselves with anti-colonial literature.
The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook. In her essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak coined the term “White men saving brown women from brown men” to describe the racist, paternalistic process by which colonizing powers would decry the way men in power treated oppressed groups, like women, to justify attacking them. Spivak was referencing the British colonial agenda in India. But Grennell’s attack might be a case of white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men, to the same end.