Joe Biden risks 'hypocrite' label with Saudi Arabia visit amidst homosexuality crackdown

Joe Biden's visit to Saudi Arbia comes after he signed an executive order for rolling back a wave of anti-LGBTQI+ legislation in the US


                            Joe Biden risks 'hypocrite' label with Saudi Arabia visit amidst homosexuality crackdown
Joe Biden's visit was announced as officials in Saudi Arabia are seizing rainbow-coloured toys amidst an offcial crackdown on homosexuality (Alex Wong/Getty Images, Daily Mail screenshot)
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President Joe Biden is set to travel to Saudi Arabia in July, as part of a larger trip to West Asia. He will reportedly interact with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The Crown Prince is believed to be the mastermind behind Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's murder in 2018. At the time, Biden had promised to isolate Saudi Arabia and vowed to make it "pay". 

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Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia was announced as the country decided to impose an official crackdown on homosexuality. It is raiding shops in the capital to seize rainbow-colored toys and other clothing items. A video shared on social media shows officials entering shops and taking objects off shelves. They are then seen piling them on the floor. 

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With Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia, the president is risking being labeled a 'hypocrite' as he attacked 'ultra MAGA laws' on Wednesday, June 15, and signed an executive order for rolling back a wave of anti-LGBTQI+ legislation. He condemned hundreds of these 'ultra MAGA' laws that discriminate against gay and transgender people. Signing the executive order designed to roll back the impact of over 300 laws, the president described it as a battle for the soul of the nation.

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Meanwhile, items being confiscated in Saudi Arabia include rainbow-colored bows, skirts, hats, and pencil cases, the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel revealed. Most of these items were manufactured for young children. "We are giving a tour of the items that contradict the Islamic faith and public morals and promote homosexual colors targeting the younger generation," an official from the commerce ministry, which is involved in the campaign, reportedly said. The colors apparently send a "poisoned message" to children.

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The ministry is also reportedly seizing "products that contain symbols and signs calling for deviation and contradicting common sense." Shops that continue to sell these items will be legally penalized. In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is a potential capital offense. The country is known for its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

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Items being confiscated in Saudi Arabia include rainbow-colored bows, skirts, hats, and pencil cases (Daily Mail screenshot)

Sexual relations in the country are only permitted between married men and women. Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging. The country had asked Disney to cut 'LGBTQ references' from 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' in April, and the movie was ultimately not screened in Saudi cinemas. Disney's animation 'Lightyear' was also banned over a scene that features a same-sex kiss.

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On June 15, Biden said at an event marking Pride Month at the White House, "I don't have to tell you about the ultra-MAGA agenda, attacking families and our freedoms. Three hundred discriminatory bills introduced in states across this country..."

President Joe Biden speaks at an event celebrating Pride month in the East Room of the White House June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Biden added, "In Texas, knocking on front doors to harass and investigate parents who are raising transgender children. 'In Florida going after Mickey Mouse for God's sake." Conservatives in Florida turned on Disney for how it opposed a law that banned school teachers from holding discussions on sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms -- dubbed by opponents the 'Don’t Say Gay” bill.

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The executive actions unveiled on June 15 demand that the Department of Health and Human Services work with states to expand gender-affirming care. It directs the department to expand access to youth mental health counseling and strengthen non-discrimination protections in the foster care system. The department is also supposed to clarify that federally funded programs cannot offer 'conversion therapy', a practice that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

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"My order will use a full force on the federal government to prevent inhumane practices of conversion therapy," Biden said. "This is the first time the federal government is using a coordinated response against this dangerous, discredited practice." Biden appreciated key gay and transgender officials in his administration, including Admiral Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health and the first openly transgender four-star officer in the nation's uniformed services. He also gave a shout-out to Shawn Skelly, undersecretary of defense.

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