'Homo Empire' Trump Appointee Defended by Agency Head in Wake of Anti-LGBTQ Remarks

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 30, 2020

Donald Trump
Donald Trump  (Source:Associated Press)

The recently-appointed White House liaison with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Merritt Corrigan, made headlines when a number of her earlier writings and social media posts slamming LGBTQs, women, and immigrants surfaced.

Now John Barsa, the acting head of USAID, is defending Corrigan, along with two other USAID appointees that have come under fire, CNN reports.

USAID provides American support to countries around the world and uses a "liberal democracy index" as one of its metrics in deciding whether a country is self-reliant. USAID also has an entire office dedicated to gender equality and women's empowerment. The agency's website says it is working for a world in which LGBT people are "respected and able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence."

But Corrigan's writings seem to indicate a distaste for liberal democracy - the very system of government set out in the U.S. Constitution.

As previously reported at EDGE, Corrigan betrayed either a deep confusion about what liberal democracy is and what it stands for or else a cynical belief that people would not know what she was saying when she posted this gem on social media:

"Liberal democracy is little more than a front for the war being waged against us by those who fundamentally despise not only our way of life, but life itself."

Corrigan critics took note of that and other comments she's made in the past, including praise for Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban - whom Corrigan called "the shining champion of Western civilization" - and a Phyllis Schlafly-inspired attitude towards feminism.

Last October, Corrigan wrote an op-ed in The Conservative Woman, a London publication, attacking the idea that women should be free to have careers outside the home seemingly pining for the days when stay-at-home motherhood was the only career most women could expect to have.

But Corrigan's most caustic commentary was aimed at the LGBTQ community, as when she penned a claim that America is in the clutches of a "homo-empire" that "couldn't tolerate even one commercial enterprise not in full submission to the tyrannical LGBT agenda."

Corrigan is not the only USAID appointee - and indeed is far from the only appointee in the Trump administration overall - with a history of anti-LGBTQ commentary. Critics also questioned the placement of two other USAID appointees, Mark Lloyd, and Bethany Kozma. Lloyd, a "religious freedom adviser" to USAID, has a history of anti-Muslim commentary. Kozma, who serves as Senior Advisor to the Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment at the US Agency for International Development, has a history of anti-trans rhetoric.

USAID acting administrator John Barsa lashed out with a statement "on recent news article attacks" regarding Corrigan, Lloyd, and Kozma.

Wrote Barsa:

I want to specifically condemn the unwarranted and malicious attacks on Deputy Chief of Staff Bethany Kozma, Deputy White House Liaison Merritt Corrigan, and Religious Freedom Advisor Mark Lloyd.

Added Barsa:

USAID is honored to have Bethany Kozma, Merritt Corrigan, and Mark Lloyd serve at the agency. They are committed to enacting the policies of President Donald J. Trump.

That, however, is another point of contention for critics of the Trump administration, which has proven itself to be the most anti-LGBTQ government in recent American history. The president and his officials have, over the course of the last three and a half years, erased LGBTQ Americans from the U.S., Census, banned transgender patriots from serving openly in the Armed Forces, and encouraged the Supreme Court to exclude non-heterosexual and non-cisgender workers from non-discrimination protections.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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