If you ask Donald Trump, he’ll tell you his administration has been one of the most successful in America’s history. But facts and reality disagree. It’s been a year of shock and awe since the 45th President of the United States was sworn into office, and it seems every day — scratch that, every few hours — there’s a new calamity that leaves us questioning the Trump administration and its fitness for office.
Since before he took office, Donald Trump has claimed to be a supporter of the LGBTQ community. That, of course, is merely one of the many lies he’s relayed to the American public. Let’s take a look at how we know this.
After a year-long vacancy, Antonin Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court was robbed from Merrick Garland and given to Neil Gorsuch, who is not a proponent of LGBTQ rights and supports broad protection for the freedom of religion. Gorsuch’s appointment was a partisan endeavor that enraged many as it completely derailed Obama’s nominee.
Gorsuch is also a young supreme court justice (the youngest since Clarence Thomas to be nominated), which means his conservative, textualist and originalist philosophy on interpreting the Constitution will have implications on American civil rights for decades to come.
Of course, much more than the Supreme Court is in danger. The Trump administration is attempting to stack America’s federal courts with anti-gay zealots.
One of the first things the Trump administration did (once it cleared all LGBTQ content off White House web pages, that is) was to revoke President Obama’s guidance for Transgender Students. That guidance required schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity or provide them with private facilities.
As the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos was no help in “educating” Trump on the importance of these protections for young trans students. Furthermore, the revocation of the guidelines prompted the Supreme Court to vacate the Gavin Grimm case that could have settled the issue once and for all.
June is a month to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. For the past several years the Obama administration made an effort to acknowledge our community through a special reception in which LGBTQ leaders and activists were invited to the White House. It should come as no surprise that the Trump administration failed to recognize June as LGBTQ month. No proclamation, no White House reception, nada, zip, zilch. Actually, that’s not true. He did take time in June to speak at the “Road to Majority” conference, a religious conservative gathering where he headlined alongside other homophobic speakers.
Keyboard courage seems to be Trump’s strongest skill. In July, Trump tweeted that transgender individuals would not be able to serve in the military in any capacity. It was a “WTF? moment” in which the president dictated policy over Twitter. It was as if he had no clue that trans individuals were already bravely fighting and serving the country.
When asked, most military servicemembers had no problem serving alongside trans individuals, because in life-or-death situations, how you identify doesn’t make a difference. As for the “medical costs” he complained of, the president doesn’t seem to realize the military spends five times as much on Viagra as trans-related medical care.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case. In a not-so-surprising announcement, the Trump Department of Justice sided with the baker and aligned to support him. Now with the court seemingly stacked against us, we are on the edge of potentially allowing businesses to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation.
You’d think we as a country might be past this point, but the far right and those who believe the walls between church and state should be torn down — including the Trump administration itself — fully support the right to hang a sign in your window that says “We won’t bake your gay wedding cake.”
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the United States Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Instagram @JeffZandPaulK.
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