Prospect of Trump Returning to Power Threatens LGBTQ+ People, Women, People of Color, and Millions of Other Americans Who Refuse to Embrace His Extremist Vision for America
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign — America’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization — released the following statement in response to former President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will run for a second presidential term.
“We in the LGBTQ+ community have watched over the past seven years as Donald Trump’s hateful language and discriminatory policies have emboldened waves of bigotry, disinformation and violence,” said Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison. “Even as Republican voters have become increasingly supportive of LGBTQ+ people – registering majority approval of nondiscrimination projections and marriage equality – he and his extremist MAGA supporters have worked tirelessly to try to slander and demonize us, our relationships, and our families. His time in office saw a relentless onslaught of unconscionable executive orders that made it harder to live as an LGBTQ+ person in this country.
“A majority of Americans rejected Donald Trump twice, and we expect that voters will again reject his malevolent, dystopian vision for our country. Trumpism failed again in this year’s midterm election, with his endorsed candidates rejected by voters in crucial Senate, gubernatorial, and down ballot races in states such as Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In 2024, he is bound to fail once again, and the Human Rights Campaign will work to mobilize the 62 million ‘Equality Voters’ — for whom LGBTQ+ equality is a make-or-break issue — to stand together in opposition to his candidacy, and to ensure Trump forever remains a one-term president.”
Trump’s Timeline of Hate
Trump is largely regarded as one of the most viciously anti-LGBTQ+, anti-woman, anti-Black and Latinx, and anti-democratic politicians of all time. During his four years in office, HRC maintained a running list of discriminatory and irresponsible actions taken by the Trump administration. Trump’s Timeline of Hate calls attention to the flood of incomprehensibly reckless and harmful policies and statements during his disgraceful time in office, including these lowlights:
Opposition to the Equality Act: Despite support from almost every segment of the U.S. population and a majority of Republicans, Trump opposed the Equality Act. The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives, would guarantee critical non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people among other crucial rights.
Appointed horrifically anti-LGBTQ+ judges: Trump appointed anti-LGBTQ+ judges with alarming anti-LGBTQ+ records to appointments at every level of the judicial system, including anti-equality Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Joked about Pence’s desire to hang gay people: In 2017, Trump joked about then-Vice President Pence’s anti-gay agenda saying “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
In the Workplace
Banned transgender service members from the military: Against the expert advice of military leadership, medical authorities, budget analysts, 70% of Americans and the armed forces of allied countries, Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military.
Rolled back Obama-era non-discrimination protections: Trump’s Department of Justice upended previous DOJ interpretations of the Civil Rights Act that protect transgender and non-binary workers from employment discrimination and ceased enforcing non-discrimination protections as well as taking a hostile stance to LGBTQ+ workers in court.
Planned new rules to license discrimination: Trump’s Department of Labor issued a directive designed to allow federal contractors to claim a religious exemption to fire LGBTQ+ workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Kicked people living with HIV out of the military because of their status: The Department of Defense instituted a “Deploy or Get Out” policy, which would remove military personnel living with HIV from service solely because of their status.
Created a hostile work environment for LGBTQ+ federal employees: According to Politico: “[The Trump administration] fostered a climate where six staffers who are LGBT described removing their wedding rings before coming to work in the morning, taking down photos of their partners and families or ultimately finding new jobs further away from certain political appointees. They did not want to be identified; two said they feared being reassigned for being gay.”
In Health Care
Section 1557 Rule: HHS published a proposed major change to the administrative rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to remove explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people in healthcare programs and activities by excluding LGBTQ+ people from protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity.
Advocated for the elimination of the entire Affordable Care Act: The Justice Department issued a legal filing arguing that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act should be overturned. Such a move would have jeopardized health care for over 130 million people with preexisting conditions like HIV and eliminated non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
Created a Religious Discrimination Division: HHS created a new office whose sole purpose was to defend physicians and other medical professionals who decide to refuse care based on personal beliefs rather than medical science, including to LGBTQ+ patients.
Proposed cutting over $1.35 billion from PEPFAR budget: In his proposed FY 2019 budget, Trump cut $1.35 billion from, or 29% of, PEPFAR’s budget. PEPFAR is the U.S. government program that fights AIDS abroad.
Guidance for Schools on Transgender Students: The Departments of Education and Justice eliminated Obama-era guidance clarifying that schools must treat transgender students consistent with their identity. This encouraged schools officials to permit harassment of transgender students, deny access to facilities consistent with gender identity, and refuse to use correct names and pronouns – all inflicting untold emotional harm.
Rejected Complaints From Transgender Students: The Department of Education refused to respond to civil complaints filed by transgender students, including those who were barred from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
Suggested it was acceptable for schools to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students while accepting taxpayer funds: Then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos refused to rule out federal funding for schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ students and declined to state she would otherwise intervene should discrimination occur.
Sexual Assault: DeVos rescinded Title IX rules related to schools’ obligations to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. By eliminating the Obama-era rules, DeVos increased the standard of proof from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence” making it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to obtain justice. LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by sexual assault and harassment, and the stigma that many LGBTQ+ people face can make it more difficult for survivors to report.
Eliminated language protecting LGBTQ+ children participating in the 4-H program: The Trump administration ordered 4-H programs to remove a policy specifically welcoming LGBTQ+ children in the 4-H program, which led to the firing of an official who protested.
Allowed emergency shelters to deny access to transgender people: Despite the fact that LGBTQ+ people are significantly more likely to experience homelessness in their lives, then-HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposed a rule to permit emergency shelters to deny access or otherwise discriminate against transgender persons who are homeless. HUD also canceled a scheduled survey on LGBTQ+ homelessness.
Placed incarcerated transgender people in the wrong prison: The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rolled back an Obama-era policy that housed incarcerated transgender people consistent with their gender identity. With transgender people experiencing sexual assault at higher rates than average, this decision put them at further risk of assault.
Allowing foster care programs to discriminate while accepting taxpayer funds: Trump undermined an Obama-era rule that banned discrimination on the basis of religion by foster care organizations receiving federal funds from HHS. This change risked preventing thousands of LGBTQ+ parents from being able to provide stable and loving homes for over 400,000 children in foster care nationwide.
Refusing visas to partners of diplomats: The State Department began refusing visas for same-sex partners of some diplomats and U.N. workers if they were not married.
Changed rules to deny surrogate born children citizenship: The Trump administration interpreted immigration rules specifically so the child of a same-sex couple born abroad via surrogate would be considered “born out of wedlock” and making it more difficult to obtain U.S. citizenship.
Erased transgender people: Trump’s HHS proposed a new definition that would narrowly define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by birth. According to the New York Times: “The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million [transgender] Americans.” In addition, agency staff, including those at the Centers for Disease Control, were instructed to stop using the word transgender in official reports.
Eliminated information on LGBTQ+ rights, mentions, and representation on government websites: Within hours of Trump’s swearing-in, pages on LGBTQ+ rights and recognition were removed from government websites, including the White House.
Blocked questions regarding sexual orientation from consideration for the census: Trump sought to block questions on sexual orientation from the census in order to erase LGBTQ+ people from official counts, preventing the collection of crucial data to help improve government programs and resources for LGBTQ+ people.
HRC’s Commitment to Mobilizing Equality Voters
Equality Voters are a voting bloc of demographically and geographically diverse Americans who are united by the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality. Equality Voters are younger, more racially diverse, and more female than the general electorate, they recognize and trust the HRC brand, and they are more likely to identify with issue-specific organizations than candidates or political parties.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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