This week, President Dickface –er, Trump– appointed ANTI-LGBTQ activist Roger Severino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR), an office whose work he has vocally opposed.
As Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society for the Heritage Foundation, his previous job, Severino spoke out against the civil rights protections. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality said,
“By appointing Mr. Severino to enforce the life-saving protections that he has made his personal mission to dismantle, the Trump administration has once again put the fox in charge of the hen house.
He has made attacking women’s and LGBT people’s access to health care one of the centerpieces of his career, while his baseless claims about protections for transgender people—repeated over and over without any regard for the consequences on transgender people’s lives—betray a fundamental misunderstanding of federal civil rights laws, medical science, the reality of what it means to be transgender.
Mr. Severino is now in a position to transform his dangerous rhetoric into action that can inflict serious harm on the lives of millions of Americans. We cannot let this happen.”
At the Heritage Foundation, he wrote a report opposing the OCR’s implementation of a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in federally-funded health programs.
Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for external affairs at the Center for American Progress said,
“Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied equal treatment to same-sex couples and more than half of private insurance plans explicitly discriminated against transgender patients, with more than a quarter of transgender people reported being denied medical care by a provider. Severino’s writing makes it clear that he wants to take us back to the days when 1 in 4 transgender people was refused medical care outright.”
Access to healthcare has been a major focus of transgender rights organizations and was an area that advocates saw a number of victories under President Barack Obama. JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign said,
“I could not think of a more dangerous person to head up the Office of Civil Rights at HHS. Mr. Severino takes pride in being a stark opponent of the LGBTQ community and has made it clear that his number one priority is to vilify and degrade us.”
Severino’s appointment continues a trend of Trump appointing leaders in agencies and offices whose existence they have openly opposed, obviously intending to destroy those agencies from within.