by Sarah McBride •
WASHINGTON - Tonight, the Human Rights Campaign and artist Robin Bell projected the CDC’s banned words onto the side of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that the Trump-Pence Administration banned the use of seven words by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Tonight’s projection on the Trump Hotel, which lasted for roughly half an hour during rush hour, included the banned words - "transgender," "fetus," "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "evidence-based" and "science-based” - and concluded with a declaration from the LGBTQ community: “we will not be erased.”
In conjunction with the enormous light display, HRC has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for any and all records, including communications with the CDC, relating to the banned words from November 2016 onward.
“Our message for the Trump-Pence Administration is this: you cannot erase us. We will meet attacks on our community with a resolve to be louder and more visible than ever before,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Director of Government Affairs. “Furthermore, the American public deserves to know the degree to which the Trump-Pence Administration has interfered with the life-saving work of the CDC. It was not long ago that the government tried to ignore the reality of the HIV and AIDS crisis to the detriment of millions. This kind of erasure has potentially catastrophic consequences beyond the words used by the CDC — it could impact the very programs most vital to the health of transgender people, women, youth and others.”
Reports initially surfaced on Friday in the Washington Post that the Trump-Pence Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services forbid CDC officials from using several words in critical budget documents. The CDC regularly engages in research and work impacting marginalized communities, including efforts to reduce health disparities among the transgender community.
The ‘word ban’ appears to be just part of the ongoing effort by the Trump-Pence Administration to erase LGBTQ from reports and data collection. Earlier this week, Politico reported that the administration also kept hidden 10,000 comments on the Trump-Pence proposal granting exemptions for faith-based organizations in healthcare while only posting submissions that praise the administration’s policies.
Following the light protest at the Trump International Hotel, for the remainder of the evening beginning at 8 PM ET, the display began projecting onto the side of the eight-story Human Rights Campaign headquarters at the corner of Rhode Island Ave and 17th St. NW in Washington, DC.
A video of the display is available here.
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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