LGBTQ+ in the 2020 Election
President Donald Trump vowed he would protect the LGBTQ+ community in the USA. However, religious privileges trumped LGBTQ+ rights.
What Has Trump Done So Far?
The U.S. President has promised to safeguard LGBTQ+ rights like any of the previous Republican presidents did. However, the efforts of his administration speak differently. At first, he did seem to support the LGBTQ+ in the nomination acceptance speech. But the very beginning of his presidency saw otherwise.
Trump often tried to regress all rights that Barack Obama granted to the U.S. gays and lesbians. Namely, the president’s administration has outlined a brand-new Health and Human Services rule. Its key purpose is to remove the language established during the Obama era.
The language bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, race, or age. Trump administration did not provide any essential protection granted by the statute. Instead, they encompassed everything but gay and lesbian rights. What’s more, they infringed LGBTQ+ rights in all crucial fields — army, education, sports, business, health care, etc.
Attacking LGBTQ+ rights seems to be only the beginning. Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ plan might soon receive a considerable impetus at the Supreme Court. The Department of Justice seeks to legalize dismissing people on the basis of their orientation and gender identity.
According to LGBTQ+ leaders, such an action would instantly overturn basic civil rights for a great number of people. Also, it would raise concerns that gays, lesbians, and transgenders may lose their rights and protection they have hardly won.
The Most Destructive Anti-LGBTQ+ Argument
During the Obama era, the LGBTQ+ community gained numerous victories. But the moment Donald Trump took over the office, his administration aimed to reverse some of the basic LGBTQ+ privileges. Those included denying health care protection to transgender people, restricting army service, and removing rules that protect trans students. Also, they let businesses deny their services to gay and transgender customers in case they demand religious exemptions.
August 2019 witnessed the most intrusive anti-LGBTQ+ legal argument so far. Justice Department required the Supreme Court to propose a new rule. Such a rule would further deny gay workers the protection they had under the sex discrimination law.
Although Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers gay and lesbian rights, the Justice Department disagrees with it. The Department claims that Title VII does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. They interpret the term “sex” as directly related to biological males and females. Such an interpretation erases not only transgenders, but also intersex people who comprise 1.7% of the population.
No Place for Trans People
The LGBTQ+ community believes that present anti-discriminatory laws are not enough. They are deficient and badly applied. If they lost even those few resources they currently possess, the aftermath would be disastrous. However, it seems that trans people are in the worst position.
Aria Sa’id, a San Francisco-based advocate, pointed out the abuse and hazards trans people experience in homeless shelters. What’s more, a proposal from May 2019 could even worsen this problem. Namely, it lets so-called single-sex shelters reject trans people.
Koomah, an activist from Houston, experienced severe discrimination in shelters while still a teenager. Being intersex, they looked quite androgynous. The shelter staff made them go through a genital examination to determine their sex, only to kick them out.
30-year-old Khloe Rios points out difficulties trans people experience with finding a steady job. While at college, she was suddenly dismissed from her job at a marketing agency. The reason is, in her opinion, the fact she is trans. She added it was devastating how Trump and Republicans incite hate towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Can Republicans Approve of Discrimination?
Human rights experts believe the Justice Department claims will fail at the court. Namely, Title VII clearly includes groups that do not strictly fall in the most limited interpretation of “sex.” It was Antonin Scalia, a conservative former justice, who made this clear in 1998 with his ruling on Title VII.
However, Harper Jean Tobin from the National Center for Transgender Equality is of a different opinion. Despite the Supreme Court’s recognition of LGBTQ+ rights, Trump’s administration would seek other ways to approve of discrimination.
Tobin also adds that, in Trump’s America, anyone that does not resemble him could be easily segregated. Hence, the Department of Justice arguments do not only discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, but also any other marginalized groups.
The President’s Attacks Through 2019
Donald Trump and his administration are notorious for their attacks and discrimination of both the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups. This is what they looked like throughout 2019.
- January 11: Over 13,000 employees who declare themselves as LGBTQ+ did not get their paycheck.
- March 25: Trump’s officials at ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency) allegedly abused 12 immigrants who declared themselves as LGBTQ+. The abuse involved harassment and refusing to provide health care services.
- March 27: Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary, refused to declare if she opposes or supports discrimination against LGBTQ+ students at schools.
- April 5: Donald Trump praised Brian Hagedorn for his election. Hagedorn is an anti-LGBTQ+ fanatic who seeks to banish LGBTQ+ students from schools. He also supports attacks on the LGBTQ+ community in the USA.
- April 12: President Trump and his officials forbid transgender citizens to join the army.
- May 24: The administration disclosed a new policy that would invalidate health care protections for trans people. The abolition of such protections granted by the Affordable Care Act could possibly harm 1.5 million trans people.
- June 7: Donald Trump forbade all American Embassies to fly the LGBTQ+ flag during Pride Month.
- September 19: While visiting the HUD office in San Francisco, the Trump administration passed degrading comments on the LGBTQ+ people. Some participants protested by leaving the event.
- September 20: The Department of Education dismissed the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” and introduced “sex stereotyping.” The former terms were used to track bullying. This change of terms hinders tracking anti-LGBTQ+ bullying information.
- September 27: The President’s administration allows the Archdiocese to dismiss an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation.
- October 11: Trump’s office allowed religious schools to use religion as a justification of the “right to discriminate” against LGBTQ+ employees. Also, it allowed them to eliminate the pro-LGBTQ+ educational program.
- November 1: The administration declared they would let adoption agencies apply “religious beliefs.” That would justify a denial to place children in LGBTQ+ couples’ homes.
- December 1: Donald Trump skipped to mention LGBTQ+ people during his manifesto on World AIDS Day.
- December 17: Trump’s office assigns Tim Wildmonton, an infamous anti-LGBTQ+ fanatic, to Faith Advisory Council at the White House.
The Damage Is Done
It could be said that the harm Trump and his Republicans have done to the LGBTQ+ population is irreparable. The omnipresent hatred and intolerance have caused much anxiety among LGBTQ+ people. Constant discrimination at work, recurrent devastating news about attacks and murders of black trans people caused serious depression among the community.
Luckily, there isn’t such a policy that could prevent people from being what they genuinely are. LGBTQ+ people have always been a part of society and will continue to be. No segregation, bigotry, or repression could ever make them invisible.
Unlike their Republican opponents, the Democrats support the LGBTQ+ community in their fight for rights and equality. Even though the Supreme Court acknowledged LGBTQ+ rights, gays, lesbians, and transgenders still experience everyday discrimination. Children are often bullied at schools and some restaurants still don’t serve trans people. Also, same-sex couples frequently fear their families will reject them. Democrats firmly believe this needs to be changed urgently.
Where Do the Democrats Stand?
The U.S. Democratic Party is devoted to eliminating anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence. They seek to make sure that all LGBTQ+ citizens are adequately treated at school or college, workplace, and community. The Obama era saw colossal progress. The administration passed several hate crime laws and banned anti-LGBTQ discrimination by federal contractors, while trans people were allowed to join the army. Also, the administration ended the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Most importantly, all 50 states have adopted the marriage equality law.
These achievements are undoubtedly essential and historic. However, there is still much to be done. Every bit of progress takes small steps. What matters is that the Democrats are willing to seek progress. Democratic leaders throughout the U.S. and those in Congress will continue to support and fight for the LGBTQ+ community. The goals are full equality, legal protection, and ending adverse treatment of youth.
What Are Democratic Candidates Saying?
Being aware that Trump’s politics have jeopardized gay and lesbian rights, Democratic presidential candidates vowed to firmly support the LGBTQ+ community. They promise all voters that they are going to end discrimination at the workplace and advance health care. Also, ensuring protection for LGBTQ+ people who experience threats and other forms of abuse due to their gender identity or orientation is among their primary goals.
Trump’s challengers have taken every opportunity to condemn the Republicans and their administration. They are aware of all LGBTQ+ issues that need to be urgently addressed, primarily increasing discrimination, bullying, and even murder.
In Their Words
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, IN, and an openly gay candidate, highlighted the importance of raising awareness of the LGBTQ+ issues. He stated that gays and lesbians are present everywhere in the United States, which gives them “powers to build bridges.”
The leading candidate and former vice president, Joe Biden, has always supported same-sex marriage. Relationships between two individuals of the same sex should not be distressing, he claims. They love one another just like all other heterosexuals.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has a very rigid attitude when it comes to LGBTQ+ people. Current progress regarding their rights and equality must on no account be annulled by Donald Trump and his Republicans.
In Cory Booker’s opinion, Trump administration jeopardizes not only LGBTQ+ but also colored people’s rights. When it comes to sexuality, he stated, an employer can now dismiss an individual simply because they are gay. Booker condemns such discrimination as it opposes the fundamental values of the U.S. He promised a paid parental leave for same-sex parents, especially men who encounter disparity.
Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman, firmly believes that all institutions opposing same-sex marriage should no longer be exempt from paying taxes. He holds that there should be no benefits for those who deny complete human and civil rights.
Agenda for LGBTQ+ Rights
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Kamala Harris have disclosed their agenda to ensure equality for the queer community. All three of them approve of the Equality Act. This act would notably add LGBTQ+ protections to existing anti-discriminatory law.
Also, the three presidential candidates guaranteed to come up with pre-exposure prophylaxis. This drug would reduce the risk of getting HIV and it should be affordable to everyone. Furthermore, Buttigieg promised to eradicate AIDS epidemics during the upcoming decade. He aims to reestablish the White House Office of National AIDS Policy which has become inactive under President Trump.
The candidates vowed to promote LGBTQ+ matters during their presidency. Warren declared she would assign a special delegate at the State Department. Harris, on the other hand, would open a new position at the White House — Chief Advocate for LGBT Affairs. The position would include integrating efforts across the whole U.S. government.
Besides signing the Equality Act, Pete Buttigieg promised to do the following:
- Upgrade the passport system so as to encompass the third, non-binary gender.
- Ban genital surgeries on babies born with both male and female genitals. These procedures might have physical and psychological consequences.
- Eliminate obstacles to adequate and necessary medical care of transgenders.
- Pass laws to support suicide prevention.
- Ban conversion therapy whose aim is to persuade LGBTQ+ youth they are not homosexuals.
Elizabeth Warren holds one of the top positions in the presidential race. As a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, she would normally strive for its passing. Besides, she would do the following to support the LGBTQ+ community:
- Designate federal judges that would promote LGBTQ+ rights.
- Outlaw discrimination for gender identity or sexual orientation present among adoption agencies and in the U.S. child welfare system.
- Boost the inquiry of and enforcement against LGBTQ+ people discrimination.
- Make non-discrimination of LGBTQ+ people obligatory for all bodies that apply for a federal grant. Also, she guaranteed to make sure grantees get special training and technical assistance.
Joe Biden promised to oppose granting foreign aid to any country that discriminates against LGBTQ+ people. Similarly to Harris, he would open an office that would concentrate on promoting LGBTQ+ rights across the globe.
The candidates exposed their agendas at the town hall event held on October 10 in Los Angeles. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the event was the first event ever that concentrated on LGBTQ+ issues.