When it comes to the LGBTQ community, what positions and policies has President Trump supported throughout his first year in office?
Throughout the 2016 presidential election, it was somewhat unclear as to where then-candidate Donald Trump stood on issues related to the American LGBTQ community. His opinions seemed to simultaneously champion LGBTQ causes while skirting around issues of real substance, often before he reversed them altogether.
As we we reflect on his first year in office, let’s take a look back at President Trump’s policies and positions on LGBTQ rights, starting with his inauguration in January 2017.
January 20-21, 2017: LGBTQ content is removed from White House and State Department websites.
On January 9, 2017, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a formal apology for the U.S. Department of State’s “Lavender Scare” — an internal witch hunt that cost 1,000 people their State Department jobs for alleged homosexuality during the 1950s and 1960s. By January 21, the apology had been scrubbed from the State Department’s website.
February 22, 2017: President Trump withdraws protections for transgender students.
Trump issued a statement urging schools to roll back Obama’s protections for transgender students, saying the decision about how to treat transgender students in schools, particularly with regard to bathroom rules, should be up to the state to decide.
March 28, 2017: LGBTQ questions are removed from the 2020 census.
Although an initial draft of the 2020 U.S. census included questions measuring LGBTQ populations, the questions were quickly removed from a subsequent draft. The Department of Commerce said they’d made an error in including questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, and that there was “no federal data need” to measure the number of people who identify as LGBTQ in the United States.
June 2016: The White House chooses not to acknowledge Pride Month, and instead celebrates “National Home Ownership Month.”
An Obama-era decision to celebrate the LGBTQ community during June Pride Month was ignored by Trump’s administration (though some federal agencies, such as the Pentagon, reportedly did hold Pride celebrations).
July 26, 2017: On Twitter, Trump announces that the U.S. government will not allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.
Trump said the decision was based on the medical costs and the “disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” But in October of 2017, a Federal court issued an injunction on the ban, pushing back against Trump’s policy.
October 6, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues “license to discriminate.”
In a sweeping memo, Sessions assured federal grantees, contractors, and employees of federal agencies that they are not required to serve clients or customers who pose a conflict with their religious beliefs — meaning businesses could legally refuse to serve or hire LGBTQ individuals while still receiving federal funding.
December 15, 2017: Trump bans CDC from using the word “transgender.”
In an astonishing order, the Trump administration banned the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words — including “transgender” and “diversity” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
Ongoing: Proposed healthcare legislation fails to support LGBTQ healthcare needs.
Trump has yet to push his promised Obamacare replacement through Congress, but the iterations of proposed legislation that have been made public thus far do not bode well for the LGBTQ community. The proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act, which died on the senate floor in July, would have prevented LGBTQ persons from accessing crucial health services, such as mental healthcare, and the legislation’s proposed cuts to Medicaid would have increased costs for HIV-positive people seeking treatment or people seeking preventative treatments like PrEP. The most recent proposals are only slightly improved, and debate continues over to whether — and to what extent — the government should assist low-income people in covering medical expenses.
Surviving Three More Years
In just one year, the Trump Administration has made a significant dent in rolling back decades’ worth of hard-fought victories for the LGBTQ community. And while protests, calls to your representatives, and donations of time and money are all meaningful ways to fight back, don’t forget that radical self-care is it’s own form of resistance.
Whatever that may look like for you — stepping back from commitments, reflection, meditation, exercise, counseling — making time and space for yourself and your loved ones has never been more important.
To get started prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, visit Lighthouse.lgbt.