16 • JUNE 07, 2019 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM
All of Trump’s anti-LGBT actions since last Pride Plus a few welcome moves By CHRIS JOHNSON President Trump acknowledged Pride month via Twitter last week, but his well wishes for the LGBT community fell on skeptical ears following the extensive anti-LGBT actions of his administration. In just the year since last Pride, the tally of antiLGBT actions from the Trump administration dwarf the number of good things that have come from his presidency for the LGBT community. With Pride celebrations underway, the Blade presents a list in no particular order of Trump’s positive and negative actions with direct impact on the LGBT community since 2018’s Pride celebration. (-) 1. Embracing the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling last year in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, many observers saw the decision as limited. After all, justices declined to find the First Amendment right Phillips asserted to refuse to make custom-made wedding cakes for same-sex couples. But the Trump administration fully embraced the decision as a win for “religious freedom.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the court “rightly concluded” the Colorado Civil Rights Commission “failed to show tolerance and respect” for Phillips’ religious beliefs. Soon after, the Labor Department issued guidance to ensure enforcement of LGBT nondiscrimination rules complied with the ruling’s deference to religious freedom, even though the Trump administration wasn’t required to take that action. (-) 2. White House meeting with Ginni Thomas President Trump continues to meet with antiLGBT activists in the White House, including a recent high-profile discussion with Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. The New York Times reported Trump met in January with anti-LGBT activists led by Thomas in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. As Trump was reportedly “listening quietly,” members of the group denounced transgender people serving in the U.S. military. In addition to decrying transgender military service, the anti-LGBT activists said women shouldn’t serve in the military “because they had less muscle mass and lung capacity than men.”
President Trump’s pro-LGBT actions are outweighed by a string of attacks on the community since last year.
They also said the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality is “harming the fabric of the United States” and sexual assault isn’t pervasive in the military, according to the New York Times. (-) 3. Coming out against the Equality Act In the same week the U.S. House voted to approve the Equality Act, legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban antiLGBT discrimination, Trump came out against the bill. In an exclusive statement to the Blade, a senior administration official said Trump opposes the Equality Act based on unspecified “poison pill” amendments to the legislation. “The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the official said via email. (+) 4. AIDS advisory council restaffed One year after firing all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS without explanation as first reported by the Blade, Trump restaffed the advisory body with 11 new appointees. Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, and John Wiesman, secretary of health in Washington State, were named as co-chairs for the advisory council. Months later, the Department of Health & Human Services named nine additional members to PACHA from a variety of professions, including the pharmaceutical industry, activism and academia. (-) 5. Trans military ban implemented
After the U.S. Supreme Court essentially green lighted Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military, the Defense Department implemented the policy in April. Denying the transgender ban is, in fact, a ban, the policy prohibits anyone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery from enlisting in the military and requires anyone who identifies as transgender to serve in their biological sex (which would be a small number of transgender people.) Although transgender people who were already serving openly won an exemption, individuals who are diagnosed in the future with gender dysphoria or obtain transition-related care would be discharged. (-) 6. Brief against trans protections under Title VII In a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to take up a case seeking clarification on whether anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under federal law, the Trump administration asserted the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals wrongly decided transgender people have protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. “The court of appeals’ conclusion that genderidentity discrimination categorically constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII is incorrect,” the filing says. “As discussed above, the ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ does not refer to gender identity… The court’s position effectively broadens the scope of that term beyond its ordinary meaning. Its conclusion should be rejected for that reason alone.” (-) 7. List of anti-LGBT appointments grows
The U.S. Senate continues to confirm Trump’s appointments, many of whom have long antiLGBT records. The latest will reportedly be former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who once said homosexual acts are “against nature and are harmful to society,” for a position at the Department of Homeland Security Other confirmations include U.S. District Judge Howard Nielson of Utah, who as an attorney argued a gay judge shouldn’t be able to decide the case against California’s Proposition 8, and U.S. District Judge Chad Readler of Ohio, who as acting assistant U.S. attorney general penned his name to briefs in favor of the transgender military ban and against LGBT protections under Title VII. (+) 8. But a few are from the LGBT community A handful of Trump’s appointments are from the LGBT community. Among them is former Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper, whom Trump appointed to a senior position at the State Department for politicalmilitary affairs. The Senate confirmed Cooper in April. Other new LGBT appointments are Mary Rowland, a lesbian with ties to the LGBT group Lambda Legal whom Trump named to a federal judgeship in Illinois; and Patrick Bumatay, a gay federal prosecutor whom Trump named for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Both nominations are pending before the Senate. (-) 9. Draconian anti-trans memo leaked An explosive report in the New York Times last year exposed a planned memo within the Department of Health & Human Services that would effectively erase transgender people from federal law, igniting a massive outcry among transgender rights supporters. The proposal reportedly asserts Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in schools, doesn’t apply to transgender people and calls for government agencies to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of sex “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” A dispute about one’s sex, the New York Times reported, would have to be clarified using genetic testing. (-) 10. Anti-trans ‘conscience rule’ is final The memo as described by the Times never came tolight, butmonthslaterHHS did implement an anti-trans “conscience rule” allowing health care providers to opt out of procedures over which they have religious objections, including abortions or gender reassignment surgery. This list is long and continues at losangelesblade.com
Losangelesblade.com, Volume 3, Issue 23, June 7, 2019