Trump has attacked the LGBTQ community since day 1; ban on trans folk in the military is no surprise

Today’s mean-spirited, wrong-thinking, insulting, discriminatory tweet by Donald Trump saying that no trans person may serve in the military is garnering a lot of attention on social media and elsewhere. The order will affect some 2,450 persons already serving openly and an unknown number of potential recruits and unidentified trans persons in the military.

Some commentators are calling the announcement a surprise.

Unfortunately, it is less of a surprise and more of a continuation of what has been a steady attack on the advances that the LGBTQ community had made under President Obama’s administration.

To put today’s news in perspective, here is a brief history of the Trump assaults on LGBTQ advances:

● On January 20 (hours after he was inaugurated, the President had all mentions of LGBTQ issues removed from the official White House webpage.

● On January 23, Trump’s State Department removed former Secretary of State John Kerry’s apology for the infamous “Lavender Scare” (the 1950s and 1960s efforts to purge LGBTQ persons from federal employment), and other content LGBTQ content, like information on pride month observances and the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, from its website.

● On January 30, the first rumors from the White House emerged about an impending announcement of Trump’s plan to roll-back President Obama’s executive order extending protections for LGBTQ federal workers.

●On January 31, President Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch, an established opponent of LGBTQ rights, to the Supreme Court.

● On February 3, 2017, a leaked memo from the White House showed an internal policy document that the President was considering an Executive Order that would allow rampant governmental discrimination – LGBTQ people would lose their jobs and denied service. Under the proposal, government employees would be able to decline to deal with LGBTQ persons in the name of “religious liberty.”

● On February 7, Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee as Secretary of Education, is confirmed after Vice President Pence breaks a Senate tie. DeVos’ family foundation funded major anti-LGBTQ organizations and campaigns. Her anti-equality record was denounced by major civil rights organizations, including HRC, which actively worked to stop her confirmation.

● On February 8, Jeff Sessions, a life-long opponent of LGBTQ legal rights is confirmed as President Trump’s Attorney General.

● On February 10, Tom Price, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee is approved. Price spent years in Congress opposing every LGBTQ equality measure.

● On February 22, at the President’s direction, the Departments of Education and Justice withdrew important guidelines that required schools to treat transgender boys and girls like other boys and girls under Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

● On March 2, the Senate confirmed Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Carson’s  harmful rhetoric has included: equating marriage equality with bestiality; opposing laws that protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination; and, suggesting transgender people be required to use separate bathrooms.

● On March 10, Trump’s HUD withdrew a requirement for emergency shelters receiving HUD funding to post information about LGBTQ people’s rights to access the shelter safely and in accordance with their gender identity. Then, they withdrew critical data collection and evaluation guidelines for a homelessness prevention initiative targeting LGBTQ youth.

● On March 20, Trump’s Health and Human Services changed two surveys of older Americans, removing a question about sexual orientation. The department uses the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants to decide how to provide federal funding to groups working with the elderly, and removing the sexual orientation question was the only change made to the survey.

● On March 27, President Trump signs an Executive Order rescinding an Obama order that required federal contractors to provide proof of compliance with federal laws protecting LGBTQ persons in the workplace.

● On March 28, The Trump Administration cancelled a plan for the Census Bureau to collect data regarding sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the next Census. It was Trump’s latest move to erase LGBTQ people from federal surveys and disrupt programs providing direct assistance to the LGBTQ community.

● On April 1, Trump nominated anti-LGBTQ extremist Mark Green as the next U.S. Secretary of the Army to replace Eric Fanning, the first openly gay person to lead a branch of the U.S. military. When a Tennessee state senator, Green supported allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ persons and encouraged Tennessee to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that such marriages must be allowed. He has said that being transgender is suffering a “disease.” (Green withdrew from consideration for the post on May 5.)

●June was “Pride Month.”  For the first time since President Obama took office, the President of the United States failed to recognize or even mention the commemoration.

● On June 9, President Trump addressed  Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” and said he said he would “promote and protect family values” and “ protect religious liberty in America.” The Faith and Freedom Coalition is an anti-LGBTQ group that vocally opposes same-sex marriage, and has even joined a campaign against gay Boy Scouts of America leaders, in the name of their interpretation of the Bible. Trump praised Ralph Reed and James Dobson, who opposed same-sex marriage, call homosexuality “preventable and treatable,” and promote ex-gay therapy.

● On June 29, the Trump administration appointed Bethany Kozma, an activist who led a campaign to restrict bathroom access for transgender students, to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development.

● President Trumps continued efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are, in part, a clear threat to the health and well being of the LGBTQ community. Trumpcare hurts LGBTQ individuals in several ways, for example: it guts Medicaid expansion (historically, a lifeline to many LGBTQ persons – 1.8 million LGBTQ adults have Medicaid coverage), it threatens those with HIV/AIDS;  and it will make health insurance unaffordable for lower income LGBTQ persons.

This list is not all inclusive. But it shows there is no reason to believe Mr. Trump’s campaign promises about protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons.

While the LGBTQ community enjoyed years of advances during the Obama administration, it has taken only 6 months to set the movement back and undermine the foundation of positive change we had hoped would remain unshaken.

No one should be surprised by the Trump administration’s determination. The vituperative approach of his administration to the LGBTQ community should not be underestimated.

Those who ignore the history of Mr. Trumps first six months and do nothing, may be forced to repeat it, over, and over, and …. RESIST.

Posted: July 26, 2017

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