The current Administration just keeps sticking it to the LGBTQ community. While campaigning in 2016, POTUS said he would be different, he would be the first Republican president to embrace LGBTQ people. He uttered the acronym L, G, B, T … Q at the 2016 Republican convention, barely able to get the letters out of his tiny mouth. He held up a Pride Flag at a campaign event. He initially defended the right of Caitlyn Jenner to use the bathroom that aligns with her gender identity. He tweeted: ”Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs”. Well, we thought, he is from liberal NY, how anti-LGBTQ can he be, really? Since day one of his presidency, he has continued to roll-back the rights of queer people in America.
Now, his administration’s Department of Health and Human Services under the direction of acting director Eric Hargan, has announced the creation of a dangerous division of the Office of Civil Rights allowing healthcare providers to deny services to LGBTQ people based on their deeply held religious beliefs.
This new office is intended to give Right Wing Christians permission to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens, and provide outreach and technical support for religious right wing groups that oppose LGBTQ Rights.
This is just another action by the administration to diminish the lives of LGBTQ Americans. Earlier this year, POTUS directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to censor seven words from their 2018 budgets, including: Transgender and Diversity. The other words to avoid: Entailment, Vulnerable, Evidence-Based and Science-Based.
He also erased the LGBTQ citizens from the National Survey of Older Americans, and his budget proposed cuts to funding of HIV /AIDS research, guidance protecting transgender youth in schools was rescinded, and World AIDS Day passed without any mention of LGBTQ people. That’s just in his first year!
This new office in the Department of Health and Human Services would literally put the lives of LGBTQ people in danger. These ”Religious Freedom” directives make a mockery of the fundamental religious protections provided by the Constitution. There is no “Freedom of Religion” to use faith as a weapon to make people’s lives miserable.
Roger Severino, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, has actively opposed protections for minority communities. In his previous role as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion (Secretary of Eduction Betsy DeVos‘s pet project) and his work at the hate group Heritage Foundation, Severino has spoken out against the regulations in place that protect the rights of LGBTQ people.
Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) stated:
“Any healthcare worker who has moral objections to providing medically necessary care to an entire vulnerable population is in the wrong line of work. Denying a transgender person – or any person – life saving care if they walk into an emergency room is far from a moral act, it is unjust and dangerous. Trump, Pence, and Trump’s appointees have tried time and again to establish blatantly bigoted policies that harm transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and history will neither forget nor forgive this Administration’s attacks on its own people.”
The nonprofit organization National Women’s Law Center reports that 27% of LGBTQ people have been denied health care. And a poll conducted by NPR and the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that 18% of LGBTQ Americans are afraid to visit the doctor’s office because of the way they have been treated.
POTUS and Pence are waging a culture war against LGBTQ Americans. Their aim is to roll back rights and protections, but also general acceptance of LGBTQ people in society and culture.
Earlier this week, POTUS declared January 16: “Religious Freedom Day”. His seemingly innocuous proclamation, which claims to celebrate “Americans from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds” contains references to politicized policies that appeal to POTU’s and Pence’s Right Wing Christian base.
POTUS’s proclamation included this:
“Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech, or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification. These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy.”