Sunday, February 16, 2020

Facing Reelection, Trump Expands His Anti-LGBT Agenda

In the ramp up to the 2020 presidential election, rather than build a wider base of support, Donald Trump, a/k/a  Der Trumpenführer, is working 24/7 to further divide the nation and to energize his Christofascist and white supremacist base by pandering to their prejudices and pushing an agenda to harm those that his toxic base hates. Among the Christofascists, no group is more hated than the LGBT community (followed by Hispanics, blacks and non-Christians).  As a consequence, Trump is rolling back policies adopted over the 8 years of the Obama administration and seeking to grant special rights to Christofascists to discriminate a will based upon claims that their religious beliefs are offended by the targets of their hatred. As we move through 2020, expect the Trump/Pence regime's anti-LGBT agenda to intensify.  The Advocate looks at both what has already been done to harm LGBT Americans and what may still be forthcoming.  Here are highlights:
In 2019, the Trump administration dramatically expanded upon discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ policies implemented in the first two years of this administration that are harming the health and well-being of LGBTQ people not just in America, but around the world.
It rolled back sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination provisions in health care, employment, and housing. It appointed more anti-LGBTQ federal court judges. And it retreated even further from global leadership on the moral stance that LGBTQ rights are human rights.
Alarmingly, other policies that are not specifically aimed at LGBTQ people, such as restricting asylum hearings in the United States only to people who have been denied asylum in another country, and global religious “freedom” initiatives, are disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people.
Collectively, these policies are unwinding decades of progress that have been made by LGBTQ people and their allies to build access and equity for LGBTQ people in public life. Most tragically, people are dying as a result.
In June, the Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule that, if finalized, would reverse a provision in the Affordable Care Act which prohibits anti-LGBTQ discrimination in health care settings. Six regulations prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination in health insurance and elder care were also repealed in 2019. In November, HHS released another proposed rule that would remove regulatory provisions that explicitly prohibit organizations that receive HHS grant funding from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, and religion. . . . . These programs are vital to millions of Americans, especially for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ people, who already experience pervasive discrimination that acts as a barrier to accessing care and services.
Last year also saw the implementation of discriminatory policies first announced in 2017. In April, a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military that was first announced via a series of tweets by President Trump in 2017 went into effect after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ban, lifting injunctions imposed by lower courts. An estimated 13,600 transgender servicemembers are now at risk of being discharged.
Things don’t look any better for 2020. On Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, Vice President Mike Pence attended services at Holy City Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tenn., where he also addressed the congregation. After Pence spoke, Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor sermonized that LGBTQ people have been possessed by a “demonic spirit” and that the devil was “trying to destroy the foundation of marriage and cut off the reproductive process” because “two men can’t have a baby, two women can’t have a baby.” The service was streamed live over the White House’s YouTube channel, where it can still be viewed.
The harm experienced by LGBTQ people under the Trump administration is extensive and dangerous. We have every reason to believe things are only going to get worse in 2020. Simply hoping that these proposals never gain traction is not a strategy. We must mobilize to oppose and reverse them.
 If you have LGBT friends or family members, it is critical that you vote Democrat in November 2020 to end Trump's misrule. 

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