Trump: Striking out in the LGBT+ community
by Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist
Over the past year, President Trump voiced that he supported LGBT+ rights. This month, I will dedicate this column to highlighting some of Trumps anti-LGBT+ actions from January till June.
I do hope you will take a few minutes to learn how Trump really feels about our community. This is not a joke and we must find a way to mobilize and stop the ongoing abuse of LGBT+ Americans coming from the White House. If this were a ballgame, Trump’s batting average would be a disaster.
The first significant anti-LGBT+ action that occurred in January under Trump’s leadership was strike one. All references to LGBT+ Americans were deleted from the White House official website on the very day Trump was sworn into office.
I recall wearing red on Wednesdays in late January and early February to protest for the next anti-LGBT+ action from Trump. Then, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Trump's Education Secretary in early February. Her family's past donations to anti-LGBT+ groups like Focus on the Family are considered something that may impact her actions regarding LGBT+ students in the future. As a teacher, I was shocked that DeVos was appointed even though she had no experience in education. This is strike two.
Trump’s next anti-LGBT+ action was his appointment of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General in what has been called “a deeply distressing day for civil rights.” Lambda Legal Executive Director Rachel Tiven called Sessions “a lifelong opponent of the civil rights of LGBT people, people of color, women and immigrants.” This is strike three.
February closed with the Education and Justice departments revoking the Obama administration’s guidance on equal access to facilities for transgender students. Trump’s action appeared to impact the Supreme Court as they remanded the pivotal case of trans teen Gavin Grimm - since lower court decisions were based on the Obama guidance. This is strike four.
Trump continued anti-LGBT+ support in March when he appointed Roger Severino to lead the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. LGBT+ advocates find the move disturbing as Severino dismissed transgender equality as “the radical left using government power to coerce everyone, including children, into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology.” This is strike five.
Trump signed yet another anti-LGBT+ executive order in March that revoked the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Act. This order removed the requirement that companies prove they comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws to receive federal contracts - leaving LGBT+ workers especially vulnerable. This is strike six.
March ended when Trump approved leaving all LGBT+ questions off the questionnaire for the 2020 census. The removal of the LGBT+ category came just over a week after the Trump administration removed questions about LGBT+ senior citizens from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. Those questions, which helped determine funding for groups that work with older LGBT+ Americans, had been added to the annual survey in 2014. This is strike seven.
April came and Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court on the same day Trump nominated Mark Green for Army Secretary. LGBT+ rights advocates are concerned about Gorsuch based on his ruling record and conservative leaning and they extremely oppose Green - who implied being transgender is a “disease.” Green replaces previous Army Secretary Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to hold the post. This is strike eight.
Trump broke a long tradition by failing to recognize and officially proclaim June as Pride Month. Trump approved numerous honorary proclamations for the month of June, including National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month and Great Outdoors Month. Is this another sign of how Trump is not really supporting the LGBT+ community? This is strike nine.
This is real news. Trump likes to say that when journalists write columns like this that we are reporting “fake news.” These facts are documented and are not fake. Trump may say he supports our community, but his actions between January and June equal a “triple strike out.”
It is time for the LGBT+ community to band together and show our power. Generations of LGBT+ people have worked hard and died to help our community have rights and voices in America. We cannot allow our local, state and national leaders to push us back into the closet.
Please search for opportunities to support LGBT+ rights and communicate with politicians via phone, email and postal mail. Please register to vote and find ways to help promote LGBT+ rights. We must remember, “Hope will never be silent” (Harvey Milk).
Copyright 2017 The Gayly – August 9, 2017 @ 1:30 p.m. CDT.