The Trump Administration is Undermining LGBTQ+ Rights

Opinion

A+pride+flag+flies+during+pride+month+at+a+military+base+in+solidarity+with+the+LGBTQ%2B+community.+As+attitudes+towards+them+shift+in+a+positive+direction%2C+President+Trump+and+his+administration+continue+to+undermine+their+rights.

Photo By Courtesy of Stacey Geiger

A pride flag flies during pride month at a military base in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. As attitudes towards them shift in a positive direction, President Trump and his administration continue to undermine their rights.

By Amy Simon, Reporter

The Justice Department has supported discrimination against the LGBTQ community in a series of efforts led by the Trump administration to undermine basic rights of these Americans. Since Mr. Trump’s election, LGBTQ+ advocates have felt an infringement on their civil rights, including prohibited health care, being excluded from athletic opportunities, banned from adoptions, and denied employment, housing, and public accommodations.

June is pride month, which commemorates the Stonewall riots that took place in June 1969. The Stonewall riots were a series of riots in response to a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York City that began on June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Inn was initially used for people who were not welcomed/couldn’t afford other places of homosexual social gathering. When it was raided by the police, people fought to get it back. Pride month celebrates social and self acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride for the LGBTQ+ community. This month, LGBTQ+ members have joined forces with Black Lives Matter protests to demand equality.

In July 2017, Mr. Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military. In April 2017, troops and recruits were required to use pronouns and sleep and use bathroom facilities for their biological sex, even if they identifed as transgender. In May 2017, the Trump administration formally removed Obama-era regulations that were meant to protect transgender medical patients and health insurance consumers. On June 12, 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule removing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in health care and health insurance. According Dr. Juno Obedin-Maliver, the co-director of The PRIDE Study, a national long-term health study of people who identify as LGBTQ+, nearly a quarter of transgender Americans avoid seeing doctors out of fear that they will be mistreated. In order to meet the Trump administration’s goal of ending the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic in America by 2030, people will need to feel safe around healthcare workers. By allowing health care providers to refuse to treat patients within the LGBTQ+ community, the administration’s plans will be undermined.

“It takes a certain kind of evil to yank away health insurance from #LGBTQ people during a global pandemic, in Pride Month and on the anniversary of the Pulse massacre,” Gautam Raghavan said in a tweet. “But that’s what they are: evil.”

As people of today’s society become more tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community, many still oppose them. Gregory Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California and an expert on aniti-gay violence, said in an interview to the New York Times that “people who strongly oppose same-sex marriage it find the shifting culture extremely disturbing” and that, “they may feel that the way they see the world is threatened, which motivates them to strike out in some way, sometimes in violent attacks.” According to the FBI’s latest Hate Crime Statistics report, more than 1,300 out of 7,120 hate crime incidents (nearly 19 percent) reported in 2018 were stemmed from anti-LGBTQ bias. When compared to 2017’s Hate Crime Statistics Report, the number of reported incidents targeting the LGBTQ+ community spiked from 1,217 to 1,347 (17 percent to 19 percent).

“I receive tons of hate for being gay it’s ridiculous, especially on tiktok since my platform on there is very LGBT based,” singer/song writer Emma Z said. “I’ve replied to a few hate comments on there to defend the community but nothing ever changes opinions. It obviously hurts a lot but I’m almost numb to it now.” 

Before Mr. Trump came into office, he seemed to be moving forth with protecting those in the LGBTQ+ community. In his convention speech, Mr. Trump vowed to “do everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” He emphasized this by saying the words “believe me” after it. However, since in office, Mr. Trump has demeaned the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Rights such as health care, free expression, and marriage have been constantly overlooked. 

During the month of June, Mr. Trump  proclaimed it as National Homeownership Month, Great Outdoors Month, and recognized June 1 as Global Coptic Day. Somehow, the White House missed Pride Month and the thousands of rallies going on this month demanding equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. In nearly four years of Mr. Trump becoming president, he has only acknowledged Pride Month once. Unlike former president Barack Obama, who publicly acknowledged the LGBTQ+ community in an official presidential proclamation all 8 years of his presidency, Mr. Trump simply tweeted a comment promoting the administration’s effort to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Since then, his tweet has gotten lots of backlash including a comment made by Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign who said in a tweet that Mr. Trump, “can’t celebrate Pride [Month] and constantly undermine our rights, including attacking #TransHealth, discharging #TransTroops, refusing to protect LGBTQ youth, and cozying up to dictators who brutalize & marginalize LGBTQ people.”

Deliberately ignoring discrimination in our everyday lives based on sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t just inhumane- it is reckless, unacceptable, and puts all lives at risk. As a nation, it is our job to stay informed so that everyone can receive equal rights and opportunities.