Trump Administration Continues Discriminatory LGBT, HIV Policies

Photo: M. B. M. / Unsplash

BOSTON―Recently, The Fenway Institute of Fenway Health released a policy brief demonstrating that in his second year in office, President Donald Trump continued to promote discrimination against LGBT people and people living with HIV. In some cases, these policies built upon anti-LGBT measures begun in 2017. In other cases, the Trump Administration found new ways to negatively impact U.S. citizens and federal contractors as well as the family members of LGBT foreign diplomats. His administration also engaged in practices that will increase anti-LGBT stigma and HIV stigma around the world.

“In just two years, we have witnessed the rollback of rights and protections that took decades to win. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the full extent of harm now taking place,” said Sean Cahill, Ph.D., Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute. “It is undeniable that LGBT people and people living with HIV are now much more vulnerable to discrimination in health care, social services, employment, education, and access to basic government services.”

Examples of second-year actions taken by the Trump Administration that undermine the health and well-being of LGBT people and people living with HIV include:

  • Dismissing Peace Corps volunteers who tested positive for HIV, and refusing to provide pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention (PrEP) to at-risk volunteers;
  • Placing transgender inmates of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, especially transgender women, at much higher risk of rape by incarcerating them according to their biological sex at birth instead of their gender identity;
  • Ending the practice of issuing G-4 visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations—such as the World Bank or the United Nations—who are working and living in the United States;
  • Issuing a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that could allow health care providers to refuse to care for patients who conflict with their “religious belief or moral conviction” or force them “to act contrary to one’s belief”;
  • Continuing to enforce and endorse religious liberty policies that could increase discrimination against LGBT people with the creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force led by a former anti-LGBT activist;
  • Sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to attend the inauguration of Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a racist, misogynist, and homophobic platform and signed an executive order just hours after being sworn into office prohibiting the country’s human rights ministry from hearing any concerns from Brazil’s LGBT community;
  • Taking aggressive steps to prevent transgender people from serving in the military;
  • Reportedly drafting a memo that sought to define sex as binary, fixed, and unalterable under Title IX, denying the existence of transgender and intersex people;
  • Eliminating references to inclusion and protection from discriminatory housing practices in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mission statement;
  • Filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that gender identity is outside of the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, and national origin”;
  • Ending the U.S. Department of Education’s practice of hearing complaints from transgender students regarding their access to school facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity;
  • Appointing Brett Kavanaugh, who repeatedly refused to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about whether he believed that Obergefell v. Hodges, which struck down state anti-gay marriage laws, was correctly decided by the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • Appointing Kyle Duncan to the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals based in Louisiana. During the Obergefell case, Duncan filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming that a decision affirming marriage equality for same-sex couples would “damage” the political and social institutions of the country;
  • Proposing to remove sexual orientation and gender identity questions from the National Crime Victimization Survey for 16- and 17-year-old respondents.

The policy brief, “Trump Administration continued to advance discriminatory policies and practices against LGBT people and people living with HIV in 2018” can be read here:

[From a News Release]

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