President Donald Trump took a few moments on Friday to tweet in support of LGBTQ Americans ― a group whose rights his administration has eroded over the last two years ― ahead of June’s Pride Month celebrations.
“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals [...] on the basis of their sexual orientation,” Trump said on Twitter.
He added: “My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”
The official Twitter account of Vice President Mike Pence, a notorious homophobe, had remained mum on the subject as of early Friday evening.
Though the notion of standing up to violence against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity is decency at its bare minimum, the Trump administration has made a number of choices that actively hurt the rights and lives of the same LGBTQ Americans the president purports to respect.
Not all of these have gone into effect, but all seemingly contradict Trump’s Pride Month sentiment.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Mulling A Narrow Definition Of Gender
The Trump administration sounded alarms throughout the LGBTQ community in October when The New York Times reported that it was considering defining gender biologically, determined by genitalia at birth, for federal purposes. The Department of Health and Human Services was reportedly leading the effort, according to a memo obtained by the Times, but no formal announcement has been made.
Former President Barack Obama expanded and loosened gender definition in federal programs during his tenure to allow people to choose how they identify themselves. If implemented, the Trump administration’s proposed change would be a slap in the face to the LGBTQ community.
Banning Trans People From Serving In The Military
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” has risen from the grave under the Trump administration, which began enforcing a new rule prohibiting most openly trans people from serving in the military back in April, after a year-long legal battle. Obama had lifted restrictions preventing trans people from serving in 2016, but Trump claimed that allowing them to serve led to “tremendous medical costs and disruption” to the military.
As many as 10,000 trans people may be serving across active and reserve forces, according to a 2016 study by the Rand Corp. think tank.
Allowing Doctors To Refuse To Treat Trans People
The administration unveiled a faith-based rule in early May to legally protect health care providers who object to certain procedures for moral or religious reasons. Abortions and gender transitions are among the procedures that nurses, physicians and pharmacists are allowed to skip, threatening health care for women and trans people. Conservatives call the rule, which has yet to go into effect, a “conscience protection.”
Allowing Homeless Shelters To Shut Out Trans People
The Trump administration’s proposal would be a blow to the Equal Access Rule, which was created in 2012 to prevent homeless shelters from discriminating against LGBTQ people. Although Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in late May that he was not anticipating any change to the rule, advocates distrust him. Carson’s department previously removed training materials meant to help protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.
Allowing Foster Agencies To Shut Out LGBTQ People
Back in January, the administration granted a federally funded foster care agency in South Carolina the right to discriminate against potential foster parents who are LGBTQ or belong to non-Protestant faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or Catholicism. The waiver issued to Greenville’s Miracle Hill Ministries allows other faith-based foster agencies in the state to freely discriminate.
Adding Two More Conservatives To The Supreme Court
With the addition of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the nation’s highest court now leans right ― which could prove devastating to crucial LGBTQ rights cases. The court has already pledged to hear one such case, which will mark a significant moment for equal rights. It takes a look at whether Title VII, a civil rights law prohibiting workplace discrimination, should apply to LGBTQ workers.
Choosing Mike Pence As Vice President
Pence has credited an inflexible Christian belief system for his anti-LGBTQ views, which have led him to support a bill as governor of Indiana that would have permitted LGBTQ discrimination. (Language in the bill was revised only after a national outcry.) He denies supporting “gay conversion therapy,” which medical professionals say is harmful to LGBTQ youth, but past comments have hinted at his approval. The vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, has also been teaching at a school that discriminates against LGBTQ kids and adults.
The vice president’s feelings on LGBTQ people are so well-known that late-night comedian John Oliver created a spoof on the Pence family’s own rabbit-focused children’s book in which the rabbit is gay. He is not an ally.