Former US ambassador to Jamaica claims ‘it is the American way’ to facilitate discussions on LGBT rights

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The former US ambassador to Jamaica has claimed that “it is the American way” to facilitate discussions on LGBT rights but insists that the US will not “interfere” with policies.

Luis G Moreno, who resigned from his position earlier this week, told the Jamaica Observer that they would not “intimidate” with the country’s current discriminatory laws concerning LGBT people.

Former US ambassador to Jamaica claims ‘it is the American way’ to facilitate discussions on LGBT rights
Former US ambassador to Jamaica Luis G Moreno (US Department of State)

Moreno’s comments come after the Trump administration has rolled back protections for trans students, the Texas Supreme Court blocked benefits for same-sex married couples, and the US Military blocked trans troops from signing up for at least another 6 months.

Moreno said that LGBT citizens in Jamaica “don’t feel like they are equal citizens because of their sexual preference”

“I think it is an issue, and I think it should be discussed, and we have to facilitate that discussion,” Moreno said.

“Every American administrator talks about human rights because it is the American way.”

Moreno went on to explain that he had “seen a difference” in the way that people in Jamaica were not engaging with human rights and had come leaps and bounds since the US embassy faced backlash for flying the Pride flag following the Orlando massacre.

“Not everyone agrees with us. Not everyone was happy that we put the rainbow flag up at the embassy. But the fact that we are having this dialogue, if you want to call it that, is indicative. I think we wouldn’t have had this dialogue three or so years ago,” he said.

The former ambassador stressed that “things are changing” in Jamaica and that the people should not find it “intimidating”.

“I don’t find it intimidating. I think that extraditing eight guys who were Lotto scammers, who will be given a fair trial in North Dakota: Maybe if someone told me that it was intimidating, that they were put in handcuffs and put on a plane, I could debate whether that was intimidating. But, certainly, putting a multi-coloured flag upon a flagpole to support and celebrate diversity… How is that intimidating?”

“It is a real problem in Jamaica, although people don’t want to talk about it. We intend to tackle that programme, head on,” he said.

Moreno added that people accuse the US of “pushing a particular sexual agenda or sexual imperialism” but it’s “not the case”.

“We just want people to be treated equally, as we in the United States put an emphasis on equality, race, colour, creed, religion, sexual preferences; people should all have the same rights.

“That’s what we are talking about, not pushing any particular, brand or agenda or business. We just want equality, and we really are a bit bullish when there is no equal rights and that’s where that comes from,” he added.