An openly gay American ambassador has taken on a leading role in diplomatic negotiations concerning the Russian military occupation of Ukraine. Daniel Baer, who serves in Vienna as the U.S. delegate to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is at the forefront of one of the biggest foreign relations crises the Obama administration has had to face so far.
As both the United States and Ukraine have deemed this incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula as an act of invasion, Baer has taken part in several emergency meetings to de-escalate the crisis. Notably, he has been spearheading calls by the U.S. to send an OSCE-led international monitoring mission into the country. In a statement following initial meetings, Baer said that Russia’s aggression is in direct violation of several international agreements.
Baer’s participation is particularly symbolic, serving as an LGBT delegate in negotiations with a country notorious for its stringently anti-LGBT political climate. However, Baer says his orientation has not made an impact and bears no significance to the crisis.
“Just like being gay, working with the U.S. ambassador is not a choice, and I’m ready to work with all of them,” he said.
Prior to his U.S. Senate confirmation as an envoy to OSCE, Baer served as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor at the State Department, where he was instrumental in formulating policy for international LGBT affairs.