". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


USAID’s Samantha Power: ‘A Big Pot of Money’ Not Enough for LGBT Programs

June 29, 2023

On Wednesday, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power spoke at an Atlantic Council event on “advancing LGBTQI+ inclusive development.” Power, who is responsible for running the federal agency that is primarily responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance, took the opportunity to tout the Biden administration’s work funding LGBT programs and explain why LGBT issues are a priority for the administration’s foreign aid programs.

Jonathan Capehart, a journalist with The Washington Post and MSNBC, moderated the event and pointedly asked Power what she would say to someone who questioned why international LGBT programs should be a priority for the U.S. government? Power replied that the U.S. government would be wrongly legitimizing laws that recognize the natural family if the government did not fund LGBT programs around the world.

Power said, “One way to take that question… is to imagine the counterfactual, you know? Imagine a world in which U.S. taxpayer resources are expended in a manner that you know in a sense perpetuates or deepens exclusion of individuals who are really vulnerable. I mean, that would be bad. And not only that, it would have the flavor I think in many of the countries we work, for a country that for all our imperfections has long stood for human rights, it would have the effect I believe of being seen to kind of legitimate some of the rhetoric and actions and legal measures that are being put forward.”

Power wasn’t shy about directing American taxpayer funds to LGBT activism abroad. She indicated that not only should more funds be directed to LGBT programming, but LGBT considerations must be integrated into everything that USAID does, including in USAID’s food security, education, and health programming. She stated, “If you believe in development in 2023, I mean, in actually seeing development outcomes that matter and reversing development setbacks that have occurred, it’s not enough to have a little pot of money — or a big pot of money even — dedicated to LGBTQI+. All the programming that we do on food security, on education, on health … and the list goes on, needs to be attentive and intentional about going out of our way to make sure we are not just practicing development but inclusive development.”

Power went on to highlight the administration’s priority to pressure the other countries to change their laws that criminalize LGBT status or conduct. She also boasted about USAID’s LGBT efforts under President Biden, including filling the role of Senior LGBTQI+ Coordinator at USAID and how the agency is marching in “lock step” with LGBT activist organizations “on the ground” in other countries.

A Family Research Council report recently exposed the staggering extent to which LGBT issues have been the focus of President Biden’s foreign policy, including foreign assistance. For example, USAID contributes funds to the Multi-Donor LGBTQI+ Global Human Rights Initiative, a public-private partnership including other countries and private sector entities. USAID has also funded multiple research projects of the Williams Institute, an LGBT-focused policy research institute based at the UCLA School of Law.

More systematically, USAID has developed a comprehensive plan to integrate LGBT considerations and programming into USAID’s education programming, including training educators to use appropriate pronouns and discouraging school policies that are “based on the gender binary” such as dress codes. The Biden administration’s update to USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy complains about cultural family and gender norms in other countries because “gender-diverse, transgender, and intersex individuals, must contend with expectations that they comply with gender binary roles.” Earlier this year, USAID released a draft of a new “LGBTQI+ Inclusive Development Policy” which would further intertwine LGBT activism efforts into every facet of USAID’s work.

Power’s prioritization of LGBT programs is unfair to the millions of American taxpayers who strongly disagree with LGBT ideology. It’s also frustrating and harmful to the weaker and more vulnerable countries who wish to hold on to their traditional values. With the many humanitarian disasters and serious economic needs around the world, Power would be better off refocusing USAID’s efforts on meeting basic necessities. “Food security” should not include LGBT activism.

Arielle Del Turco is Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, and co-author of "Heroic Faith: Hope Amid Global Persecution."