On January 20th, 2017, a collective anxious groan echoed throughout the nation. It was during this chilly day, the 45th President of the United States was sworn into office. As millions sat in astonishment, the LGBTQ community began its journey into an era of unknowns. While many feel the Trump administration brought with it the mindset and bigotry of our forefathers, in reality, the inauguration spurred millions into action.
As a collective hive, the LGBTQ community rallied to ensure that this presidency, which continuously proves itself as one of the most anti-LGBTQ administrations in recent history, is held accountable for any misdeeds. Throughout the country, thought leaders, activists, and everyday citizens have joined forces to keep factual, unbiased truth readily available. Acting as the repository for LGBTQ-related information, GLAAD created the Trump Accountability Project, which maintains a spotlight on legislation, comments, and actions taken against the LGBTQ community by the Trump Administration.
While it may seem, at times, the efforts of previous generations are at stake, our current generation is stronger than ever. Through the innovations in communication methods and the widespread access to social media, our community bands together not only on a local level, but on an international platform cultivated by a desire to ensure justice and equality prevails.
It’s been said knowledge is power, and now, more than ever, do we turn to this sentiment in pursuing our truth. In echoing this pursuit, we bring you 26 ways Trump has worked to bring harm to the LGBT community.
#1 Erasing History – Government Websites Elimination
It only took moments after Trump’s oath of office that the new administration began to show their true colors. Within minutes of taking office, three major federal government websites deleted pages containing LGBTQ subject matters. Such changes occurred at the White House, Department of Labor, and Department of State websites.
Supporters and optimistic allies tried to calm worries by stating that it’s common for an incoming administration to delete the predecessor’s official content. While this statement is relatively accurate, searches reveal that the general messaging of the content remained intact and was merely rebranded (naturally, a new administration would want to claim ownership of a country’s vision). However, the elimination of LGBTQ issues from these federal websites resonated with communities across the country because this positive messaging of inclusion and acceptance was not carried over. Even though this feels like a minor action, the eradication of this content shines light into the inner layers of this administration.
#2 A Failed Executive Order Reveals Secretive Plots
On January 31, 2017, a leaked anti-LGBT executive order rapidly moved throughout inboxes of community advocates and media outlets. As public pressure mounted, the Trump administration released several statements loosely addressing the leaked document. While the administration appeared to deny the existence of the executive order, comments were vague and indirect.
Although the administration stated that it wouldn’t be removing the workplace protections set forth by the Obama administration, the current administration failed to discuss plans regarding executive orders allowing forms of discrimination at different levels. As religious groups call for an end of the Obama-era protections, many feel that it’s only a matter of time before policies veiled as “Religious Liberty” that effectively discriminate minority communities are rolled out of the Oval Office.
#3 Educating Our Children via Anti-LGBTQ Donors
After what was considered one of the most heated debates of the new administration (up until this point), Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Education Secretary for the United States. Throughout the debate, the Senate was divided in half and deliberations seemed to stall after progress in any direction was made. At the end of the all-night session held by Senate Democrats, Vice President Mike Pence submitted a tie-breaking vote in her favor. This single vote, many thought leaders feel, may contribute to inevitable turmoil within the education realm of our nation for years to come. While citizens on both sides of the aisle feel strongly about the confirmation of DeVos, the LGBTQ community is on high-alert.
Leaders in the community instantly spoke out after the tie-breaking vote. While the experience and qualifications of DeVos are topics of criticism, LGBTQ organization leaders fear for the emotional and physical safety of our children. Throughout the confirmation hearings and interviews, the DeVos family was noted as donating to several anti-LGBTQ organizations, including Focus on the Family.
Not only is her connection to organizations that still support backward and dangerous ‘conversion therapy’ programs a major area of concern, but her desire to privatize the nation’s public education system is an issue in a class of its own. This action would eliminate quality education for millions of children and remove them from federal protection laws. It would also inevitably further marginalize low-income communities. In the case of LGBTQ students, this could minimize support and protection during these critical formative years.
#4 Appointing The Attorney of Anti-LGBTQ Equality
As January came to a close, many leaders in the community waiting with bated breath as the Trump administration began closing in on Jeff Sessions as the next United States Attorney General. After lengthy confirmation hearings on the Senate floor, Jeff Sessions was approved to lead the Justice Department on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. From this moment, a never-ending newsreel of backward policies and hateful rhetoric has spilled out from this high-ranking position.
Although Sessions entered this position with a laundry list of tasks, his direct and indirect violence against the LGBTQ community is appalling. As profiled by GLAAD, Sessions features a significant history opposing LGBTQ rights and making derogatory public statements against this community. His record includes everything from fighting marriage equality to suggesting that the American Civil Liberties Union and NAACP are un-American.
In a direct assault against the LGBTQ community, Sessions visited the Summit on Religious Liberty conference in July 2017. In attendance were members of the Southern Poverty Law Center categorized hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom. Founders of this organization regularly spew hateful and damaging statements regarding homosexuality. During his speech, Sessions thanked this organization for its “important work” and applauded their dedication to upholding and protecting “religious liberty in this country.”
#5 The Elimination of Gender Identity Validation and Protection
On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Trump administration released another announcement demonstrating its unwavering disdain with LGBTQ communities. In an act many feel like a precursor to more harmful policies, Trump eliminated an Obama-era policy protecting and safeguarding transgender student rights to use restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity.
Supporters of the policy feel the federal government shouldn’t have become involved in the issue. However, civil rights groups and LGBTQ organizations swiftly denounced this move by the Trump administration as nothing more than a politically motivated action with dangerous, and potentially life-threatening consequences for transgender students. Moreover, such actions create an example for younger generations by painting a picture of the role the United States government plays in civil rights and protection issues.
#6 Proclaiming Intolerance and Sexism on a Global Scale
While the Department of State slowly moved toward protecting LGBTQ and women’s rights during previous administrations, the Trump administration wasted no time demonstrating their decisive actions against these communities. In March 2017, two notoriously dangerous organizations, the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Family and Human Rights, were sent to the United Nation’s yearly CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) conference.
For nearly five years, the Center for Family and Human Rights has been listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. Their work against the LGBTQ community is widespread and widely publicized, as they continually state the major issues with the national and global community is the progress of LGBTQ equality and rights. The Heritage Foundation is openly critical of transgender rights and same-sex marriages. Sending these organizations to represent the United States at a global conference regarding women’s rights is harmful to not only the progress of women but also the LGBTQ community.
#7 An Attack on LGBTQ Senior Citizens
At the latter end of March 2017, the Trump administration proposed the elimination of LGBT elders from two surveys critical for the safety and social understanding of our elders. The National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants is a nationwide survey for those receiving services, such as home-delivered meals, transportation, social support and access to caregivers. The goal of this survey is to ensure all persons currently receiving services funded by the Older Americans Act receive quality care while also identifying gaps in communities.
In a similar move, the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living omitted questions regarding gender identity and sexual organization. This annual report ensures programs are equal and effective for all social demographics. By removing LGBTQ persons from this survey, and the previously mentioned, the possibility of under-serving the elderly LGBTQ community is far too great.
#8 Appointing Anti-LGBTQ Activist to Civil Rights Office
In a move commentators are balking at, the Trump administration appointed notorious anti-LGBTQ activist, Roger Severino, as the leader of the Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office. In a previous position at the Heritage Foundation, he regularly spoke against the many civil rights protections the Civil Rights Office is charged to oversee. In essence, Severino is now overseeing a federal office designed to protect the LGBTQ community and other disenfranchised groups.
#9 Reducing Research Funding for HIV and AIDS
In a blow many scientists and commentators regard as seriously detrimental to the current and future state of medical research, the Trump administration proposed reducing $1.23 billion in research funding by the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Out of this, $300 million would be eliminated from PEPFAR, a worldwide assistance initiative, and roughly $50 million would be taken from research activities. The bulk of the reduction would negatively impact research grants, which funds independent research capable of unlocking advancements in disease and medicine treatments.
#10 Removing LGBTQ Persons from the 2020 U.S. Census
Every decade, the government performs a nationwide census to gain a more solid understanding of their citizens. Information gathered is imperative for many local and federal programs. In a direct assault against the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration has eliminated gender identity and sexual orientation from the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. Many advocates are chiming in saying this move is a systematic protocol designed to slowly eliminate the LGBTQ persons from official archives.
#11 Appointing Notorious Anti-LGBTQ Staffer To High-Ranking Position
During the Bush-era, James Renne played a direct role in one of the most deplorable, yet under-discussed, events of this administration. Staffers in the Bush administration were analyzed and if they were suspected of homosexual orientation, they were suddenly moved to offices in Detroit, or if they refused, they were fired. Renne also took the lead in removing official statements of protection for LGBTQ employees from the Office of Special Counsel website. While encapsulated in controversy, the Trump administration found a kindred spirit in Renne, and appointed him a role at the Office of the Direct of National Intelligence during the transition between Obama and Trump. Shortly thereafter, Renne was hired in a high-ranking position at the Department of Agriculture.
#12 A Federal Blind-Eye for State-Level Discrimination
In North Carolina, a passage of what’s notoriously known as the “Bathroom Bill” created national protests and condemnation from political powerhouses and LGBTQ advocacy groups. During the Obama administration, Loretta Lynch of the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against North Carolina stating that the March 2016 law legalized a host of discriminatory practices for both government and civilian entities. While the lawsuit was on-track for discussion, the Trump administration and the Justice Department withdrew the lawsuit as a “slightly less” discriminatory bill, HB142, replaced its more controversial predecessor. However, many feel this move was deliberate and allows the stage to still be set for more invasive and hateful bills in the near future.
#13 Growing Plants of Hate – Department of Agriculture
It seems a wildfire of religious freedom began at the inauguration and continues to sweep our nation. In an attempt to cloak an anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, a mountain of religious liberty and freedom of speech policies have made their way throughout government agencies. On May 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a controversial statement to USDA employees, and while said statement doesn’t explicitly state discriminating is acceptable, as many advocates already know, religious freedom and liberty policies are often followed by hateful rhetoric and harmful actions. To bolster the uneasiness felt by many, the notorious hate group, Family Research Council, commended this policy memo.
#14 Fake News for Real Anti-LGBTQ Propaganda
President Trump is obsessed with calling out so-called “fake news” outlets. However, in an act of irony, the Trump administration granted a temporary White House press credential to the notorious propaganda machine and shock journalist Jerome Corsi from InfoWars.com. This single-day press pass raised the alarm for many watchdog groups as InfoWars is a dangerous conspiracy outlet credited for spreading anti-LGBTQ content.
#15 Starving Off LGBTQ Community One Service At A Time
When the Trump administration revealed their proposed budget, the response was severely divided. Upon closer inspection, the budget proposal includes significant reductions to various departments and services that are considered pillars for the LGBTQ health and vitality. Such programs as Planned Parenthood and Medicaid were proposed to experience harsh financial cuts. These departments offer services essential for not only sexual health but also reproductive options millions of women rely on. More significant financial cuts include the HIV and AIDS programs offered by the Center for Disease Control. Without these programs, the proliferation of this disease could, once again, spike within the LGBTQ communities.
#16 A Lack of Acknowledgement – White House Silence During Pride Month
In a direct assault on the LGBTQ community, President Trump failed to acknowledge the start of Pride month at the beginning of June. During the eight years of the Obama administration, every June began with a recognition from President Obama. Such actions set the tone for the entire nation, and are paramount for the inclusion of LGBTQ persons within the national dialogue. However, Trump failed to even recognize this annual celebration. For many, this was a surprise considering how often the President seems to be on Twitter.
#17 Silent Elimination of Civil Rights Investigations
At the beginning of June 2017, the Trump administration reduces investigation techniques when responding to complaints about discrimination for LGBTQ students, among other dangerous forms of discrimination. This decisive action carried out by The Department of Education sets an unnerving atmosphere for marginalized students as investigations claiming discrimination will likely be met with half-hearted attention.
#18 Department of Education Invites Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups as Speakers
In a move that shocked many in the LGBTQ communities, DeVos invited two anti-LGBTQ hate groups to speak at a conference. Both the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family hold notorious track records for spewing anti-LGBTQ propaganda and acting as the machine for pure discrimination under the guise of “family” and “religious freedom.”
#19 Anti-LGBTQ Actions By The Commerce Department
Looking as far back as 2010, the Commerce Department included sections about gender identity and sexual orientation within its equal employment policy. However, in June 2017, the updated equal employment policy released by the Trump administration explicitly left out both gender identity and sexual orientation from its EEO statement. However, thanks to widespread opposition, the Department of Commerce reverted to its previous EEO statement and included sexual orientation and gender identity within its anti-discrimination clauses.
#20 Organized Hate – Department of Education Internal Memo
The Washington Post made headlines when it published information about an internal memo from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights where it gave specific instructions on how to handle discrimination complaints from transgender students. Within these paragraphs, specific guidelines are given on how to appropriately dismiss complaints from transgender students.
#21 Resignation of Leading HIV/AIDS Advisory Council Members
In an action that clearly demonstrates the internal conflict of this administration, six members of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council resigned in June 2017. Their reasoning? Because it was clear to these professionals that President Trump simply “doesn’t care” about the efforts set forth by the advisory council. This is a major red flag regarding how this administration cares for topics relating to the LGBTQ community.
#22 Failure to Mention LGBTQ Community During National HIV Testing Day
Without much shock from advocacy groups, President Trump failed to mention the LGBTQ community within its official statement regarding National HIV Testing Day. While HIV is not a “gay disease,” the impact that it has had on the LGBTQ community is heavily engrained into our history and culture, and therefore it deserves recognition from our leaders.
#23 Closing the Doors to Media – DOJ Pride Event Exclusion
Instead of welcoming the media to the annual Department of Justice Pride Event in June, reporters were kicked out. Unlike President Obama, who welcomed the media during such events, the Trump administration appears to keep its acceptance of LGBTQ staffers and citizens behind closed doors.
#24 Hiring the Hateful – Anti-LGBTQ Activist Hired for Gender Equality Position
In a move that truly confuses many, the Trump administration quietly hired an anti-transgender activist as a senior advisor for the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Bethany Kozma has a sordid history regarding anti-LGBTQ activity, including the opposing transgender student rights.
#25 Making Friends With Evil – Trump Grants Audience With Pat Robertson
For decades, Pat Robertson has filled the minds of millions with hateful rhetoric and discriminatory actions against the LGBTQ community. While granting a one-on-one interview with persons from the media isn’t unheard of, Trump is more selective than his predecessors. However, in July 2017, President Trump grants an audience with Pat Robertson. This interview speaks far deeper than what these two men discussed. Holding an interview with such an outspoken LGBTQ opponent clearly sends the message to Robertson’s followers, and the rest of the world, that the President shares the mindset and values as a man who’s made a living spreading religious propaganda and discriminatory statements.
#26 The Transgender Military Ban
The Trump Administration officially reinstated their prohibition of service members who are transgender, and placing the burden on the pentagon to enact these orders. His tweets from late July 2017 suggesting his plan to ban transgender service members and identifying this community as burdening the military budget with “tremendous medical costs” caused uproars among the LGBT community as they condemned him for both the nonsensical messaging, and the way in which it was delivered. Although many were relieved when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that he would not carry out such an order, it turns out that his “defiance” merely halted the Trump Administration’s impact of the order for the time being. Mattis has until February of 2018 to submit a plan for the implementation of the plan to prohibit transgender military members to serve.