Trump’s assault on LGBTQ rights is nearly over

Donald Trump at rally
Donald Trump

You’re fired

With the announcement that Joe Biden is now the president-elect of the United States a collective exhale of a held breath was heard throughout the LGBTQ community. The list of horrors that the Trump administration has visited on LGBTQ citizens, especially the Trans part of the acronym, are unspeakable.

Editorial cartoon lampooning Mitch McConnel and Donald TrumpWhile looking forward to a more level-headed administration, let the look back below serve as a reminder of how the “friend to the gays” Trump administration treated the LGBTQ community. In the first three years of his term, especially in 2017, Trump and his administration launched attack after attack against LGBTQ Americans. Amongst the low lights listed below were appointments of anti-LGBTQ activists and ultra conservative supporters to key positions within the government that had the potential to inflict massive amounts of harm to LGBTQ rights.

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• Jan. 20: Within minutes of being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, any mention of the LGBTQ community was removed from the White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor web sites.

• Feb. 22: Attorney General Jeff Sessions helps Trump rescind Title IX protections for transgender students.

• March 20: The Trump administration removes the LGBT community from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and the Annual Program Performance Reports for Centers for Independent Living, surveys used to help provide care for America’s seniors and their needs.

• March 28: The administration cancels plans to add the LGBT community to the 2020 U.S. Census.

• May 8: Department of Agriculture issues a “religious freedom” policy statement, a move praised by the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT organization.

• June 1: Trump refuses to issue a presidential proclamation designating June as LGBT Pride Month, breaking with eight years of President Barack Obama doing so.

• June 15: The Department of Education pulls back on the Office for Civil Rights’ expansive approach to investigating civil rights complaints that were meant to protect LGBT and other marginalized students from discrimination at school. On the same day, the DOE invites Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two large anti-LGBT organizations, to be speakers at a day-long conference on getting fathers involved in their children’s education and welfare.

• June 29: Reports revealed that Trump hired anti-transgender activist Bethany Kozma to the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights at the US Agency for International Development.

• July 10: Trump poses for photos with anti-LGBT activists who wish to promote “religious exemptions” unannounced and behind closed doors.

• July 26: An official White House web page links to an article published by the Heritage Foundation, an anti-LGBT organization, that calls being transgender a “psychological disorder”

• August 25: Trump directs the Pentagon to move forward with his ban on transgender service members serving openly across all branches of the U.S. military, the policy due to take effect March 23, 2018.

• Sep. 5: Trump ends the DACA program, which protected an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants, including 36,000 LGBT DREAMers from detention and deportation.

• Sep. 22: The Education Department rescinds Obama Administration-era Title IX guidelines which protected sex assault survivors on college campuses. The Justice Department files an amicus brief in support of so-called “religious exemptions” to discriminate against LGBT Americans.

• Oct. 3: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) erases all mention of the LGBT community and their health needs from its strategic plan for the fiscal year 2018-2022.

• Oct. 5: In a Department of Justice memo, the Trump administration reverse a policy that provided non-discrimination protections for transgender people in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

• Oct. 6: The Department of Justice issues a “religious exemption” guidance which allowed for federal agencies funded by taxpayer money to legally discriminate against LGBT employees as long as they cite a religious reason.

• Oct. 11: The National Park Services withdrew is sponsorship of New York City’s first permanent Pride Flag, just outside the Stonewall Inn, and dropped a scheduled participation in the flag dedication ceremony.

• Oct. 13: Trump becomes the first sitting president to speak at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit.

• Oct. 16: In a New Yorker profile of Pence, Trump joked of Pence when asked about LGBT rights, “don’t ask that guy- he wants to hang them all!”

• Oct. 17: Trump delivers the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation President’s Club annual meeting.

• Dec. 1: Trump leaves out the LGBT community and people of color out of his World AIDS Day proclamation.

• Dec. 5: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells reporters that Trump supports business owners should be able to post signs that they won’t serve gays.

• Dec. 15: Staff at the CDC were instructed not to use the following words: transgender, vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based in official documents.

• Dec. 29: Trump fires entire White House Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

• Jan. 16: Trump promotes anti-LGBT religious exemptions in his Religious Freedom Day proclamation.

• Jan. 18: The DHS creates a new department to protect healthcare workers who refuse to treat LGBT patients or those living with HIV by claiming moral or religious reasons.

• Feb. 12: The DOE confirms officially that they will not investigate or take action on complaints filed by transgender students banned from restrooms matching their gender identity.

• May 11: The Trump Administration rolls back protections for incarcerated transgender people that were meant to minimize their risk of sexual assault and abuse, allowing the Bureau of Prisons to “use biological sex as the initial determination for designation” when placing trans people for housing, screening, programs, and services.

• July 30: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the formation of his new ‘Religious Liberty’ Task Force at the DOJ’s Religious Liberty Summit. The purpose of the group is to ensure that the DOJ enforces the administration’s guidance for religious exemptions.

• Oct. 1: The State Department announces a policy that the same-sex, unmarried partners of United Nations employees will not be granted visas to stay in the U.S. Diplomats in same-sex partnerships from countries where same-sex marriage was illegal would either be forced to marry in the U.S. and face repercussions; quit their jobs; or separate for the sake of one partner’s career.

• Nov. 30: The Trump Administration signs a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that makes it clear that the U.S. doesn’t have to proactively combat anti-LGBT discrimination in order to adhere to the trade agreement.

• Dec. 19: The Trump Administration shuts down a HIV research facility in Montana after it objected to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its scientists using fetal tissue to find a cure for HIV and AIDS.

• Jan. 23: The Trump Administration approves a waiver requested by the governor of South Carolina which could give faith-based adoption agencies the ability to deny LGBT parents adoption rights on the basis of “religious exemptions” while using government tax dollars.

• Feb. 7: At the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump praised Pence’s wife Karen for teaching at an anti-LGBT school and defended a Michigan adoption agency for refusing to serve an LGBT family based on “religious exemptions”.

• March 11: In its Fiscal Year Budget for 2020, the administration announced plans to cut $250 million from the Global Fund, $1.5 billion from PEPFAR, and “limit future spending” on Medicaid—three major components to the ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS.

• March 12: The administration announces plans to implement its ban on transgender service members from openly serving in the country’s armed forces according to their gender identity, impacting 13,000 service members who are currently enlisted.

• April 4: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson refused to reinstate housing protection guidelines that would have prevented LGBT citizens from experiencing discrimination while trying to obtain housing and access to homeless shelters.

• April 17: The HHS announces it will no longer be collecting data on LGBT youth in foster programs.

• May 2: The Trump administration via the HHS issues a new rule allowing healthcare providers the opportunity to deny Americans health care services based on their so-called religious beliefs, including seeking a “religious exemption” to deny life-saving health care for LGBT citizens.

• May 13: Trump announced his opposition to the Equality Act, a direct contradiction to his previous stance.

• May 24: The administration announced a new policy that stated transgender Americans would not be guaranteed healthcare protections under the Affordable Care Act, putting 1.5 million Trans people at risk for serious harm.

• June 7: The administration prohibited all U.S. Embassy buildings from flying the LGBT Pride Flag on embassy flag poles.

• June 12: After using the Pulse Night Club shooting as a campaign booster in 2016, Trump ignored the third anniversary of the tragedy that claimed 49 lives.

• July 25: The administration informs U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) that the government is separating families with parents who have HIV/AIDS, calling it a communicable disease. However, separations would not occur with other communicable diseases, such as the flu, further perpetuating the stigma surrounding those infected with HIV/AIDS.

• August 16: The administration files a court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to block transgender Americans from having nationwide workplace protections.

• Sep. 20: The DOE removes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as terms to track bullying data for the agency, using “sex stereotyping” as a protected class instead, effectively eliminating anti-LGBT bullying tracking data from the agency.

• Oct. 11: The Trump administration announced support of allowing faith-based schools to use religion as a “right to discriminate” against LGBT teachers and staff and removing pro-LGBT curriculum.

• Nov. 1: The administration announced that they are allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to use “religious beliefs” as an excuse to deny placement of children in the homes of LGBT couples.

• Dec. 1: For the third year in a row, Trump doesn’t mention the LGBT community during his World AIDS Day proclamation.

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