Multiple sources are confirming the U.S. State Department intends to keep Randy Berry as the nation’s special envoy for LGBTI people.
Berry’s bio page remains active on the State Department website. An openly gay career foreign service officer, Berry took on the LGBTI special envoy position in April 2015.
“This is really surprising to me,” Ross Murray, Director of Programs at GLAAD told Foreign Policy Magazine. “I don’t think I can applaud it until I see what his mandate becomes in this administration.”
Berry served as U.S. Consul General in the Netherlands (2012-2015) and New Zealand (2009-2012). He has 24 years of foreign service officer experience with postings in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa.
An unnamed State Department source told the Washington Blade that Berry “continues in his role under the new administration.”
There has been some concern as to the future of LGBT issues inside the Trump administration’s State Department. Last year, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called for the removal of “activists” who promote LGBT matters abroad.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked how he intended to protect America’s work on human rights of all people — no matter who they love.
“The United States needs to stand firmly for all human rights,” Tillerson responded. “This includes support for basic political freedoms such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as well as non-discrimination against women, minorities, and a shared commitment to protect the human rights of all people, no matter who they are or whom they love.”