On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put out a statement to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
“Around the world, far too many governments continue to arrest and abuse their citizens simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex,” the statement reads. “Fear and bigotry are enshrined in laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct in more than 70 countries. In some, being LGBTI is punishable by death.
“The United States firmly opposes criminalization, violence and serious acts of discrimination such as in housing, employment and government services, directed against LGBTI persons,” the statement continues. “Human rights are universal, and LGBTI people are entitled to the same respect, freedoms, and protections as everyone else.
This statement is pretty rich coming from Pompeo, the former CIA Director and Tea Party congressman from Kansas. During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo refused to say whether he still believes being LGBTQ is a “perversion,” as he once said while in Congress. He also has deep ties to the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
Violence against LGBTQ people is not a far-away problem overseas for U.S. diplomats to dismiss. All evidence points to anti-LGBTQ hate being on the rise at home, with Republican lawmakers are doing little to stem the tide. In 2017, at least 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 30 states across the country, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. In Oklahoma last week, Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill allowing private adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ couples on religious grounds, and no castigation from the Trump administration seems to be forthcoming.
A January study from the the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found an 86 percent rise in hate-based killings of LGBTQ people in the U.S. last year, with the majority of the victims being young, LGBTQ people of color. In the past week alone, two trans women in Dallas were found dead.
Yet Pompeo and the rest of the Trump administration—including self-proclaimed LGBTQ ally Ivanka Trump—have remained silent on the growing epidemic of violence against queer men and women in America. You don’t have to think too hard to figure out why that might be.