Bit by bit, the Trump administration is wiping away resources for queer Americans. Since the day of Trump’s inauguration, references to LGBT people have been disappearing from government websites. And although Congressional Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with the LGBT erasure, there seems to be little they can do about it.
The LGBT erasure began on the first day of the new administration, with the White House’s page on LGBT issues deleted. Although officials claimed that this was just a normal step for an incoming administration, more than a year later the page at WhiteHouse.gov/LGBT still hasn’t been replaced with anything. What’s more, the White House refused to issue a statement recognizing Pride Month in 2017 — the first time in eight years the government ignored Pride.
And the LGBT erasure has continued over the last year. Among the departments that have eliminated information about queer people are the Department of Health & Human Services, the Office of Management & Budget and the Small Business Administration. Bureaucrats at those offices have been engaging in a methodical purge of information referring to LGBT issues.
For their part, a handful of Democratic lawmakers have sounded the alarm about the deletions. In an April 12 letter, senators — led by Tammy Baldwin — sent a letter to the White House demanding an explanation. Unsurprisingly, none has been provided.
It’s a particularly worrying trend, especially when it comes to Health and Human Services. The information eliminated from the site are potentially a matter of life and death, providing guidance to LGBT people on various health issues they should discuss with their doctors. Queer people are vulnerable to a wide range of unique medical issues, and erasure from the website could leave many patients in the dark about matters of personal health.
That also extends to Twitter: HHS’s @womenshealth account hasn’t mentioned LGBT health once since Trump took office.
The latest red flag came just a few weeks ago and involves the Small Business Administration. That agency deleted resources for LGBT business owners but assured lawmakers the information would be back online. Of course, months have gone by with no sign of the information being restored.
As a result, earlier this month lawmakers sent another letter demanding an explanation for this LGBT erasure. But since there was no response to earlier correspondence, it’s unlikely White House or agency officials will have anything to say about the ongoing absence of LGBT resources.
That leaves nongovernmental organizations to fill the gap left by Republicans’ selective erasure. Groups like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce are stepping in to offer assistance to queer citizens who want to start a business, and will continue to pressure Congress to get to the bottom of the deleted pages.