What happened to the LGBT for Trump flag?
Donald Trump is a liar. There is no contradicting this. It’s simply fact, and he has proven it to us again and again. And nowhere has his deceit shone through as strongly as it has when it comes to the most vulnerable among us, to those whose rights must be specifically protected. This, of course, includes the LGBT community.
During his presidential campaign, Trump paid lip service to all the great things he was going to do for LGBT people. He would protect our rights, he said. He would do “everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” he said. He paraded across a stage carrying a rainbow flag with “LGBT for Trump” scrawled across it, as if he was a champion for our cause. And people actually believed him. He was hailed as “the most pro-LGBT Pres candidate ever nominated by either party” on Twitter by the former leader of GOProud, an organization for conservative gay men, lesbians, and their allies.
This despite the fact that Trump also said he opposes same-sex marriage and would “strongly consider” working to have the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling overturned. This despite his support of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT “bathroom bill.” This despite his choice of a vice president who has a long anti-LGBT track record, including enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), an Indiana law that allowed businesses to legally discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religious beliefs.
Since his installation in the office of president, Trump has dropped the pretense that he supports the LGBT community, as evidenced by three recent actions taken by him and his administration. First was the US Department of Health and Human Services’ elimination of questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living. The data from these two surveys is used in determining which individuals need services like home-delivered meals, caregiver support, and transportation and to ensure that the Older Americans Act, which provides comprehensive care for those in the geriatric community, is meeting goals and, importantly, not leaving anyone out.
While questions about LGBT identification in these surveys might seem like a small matter, in reality it is vital to the program’s efficacy and to getting the more than three million elderly LGBT individuals in the United States the supports they need. LGBT Americans in general experience unequal access to housing, health care, and employment, and these issues only increase as we age. American LGBT seniors often face severe social isolation and are more likely than the rest of the US’s elderly population to live in poverty. It is critical that these individuals are accounted for and that their needs are addressed, and not including their LGBT status in these surveys almost guarantees this will not occur.
Taking it a step further, the Trump administration has decided to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity questions from the 2020 Census as well, thus effectively erasing LGBT individuals from the official count of the national population. Aside from the sheer inhumanity of this act, it creates even more opportunity for those in the LGBT community to be denied the freedom, justice, and supports they are entitled to as citizens of the United States. Information from the national Census is used to enforce federal laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act, that protect vulnerable, marginalized, and endangered communities. Where will our protection come from if we are not represented? How will we gain justice for the wrongs committed against us?
Another not-so-shocking but definitely devastating anti-LGBT blow from the Trump administration has been the president’s revocation of President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, or the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order. This order required companies contracting with the federal government to comply—and show proof that they have complied—with myriad federal laws relating to workplace discrimination, and this included Executive Order 13672, which prohibited contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This latter order is still in place (for now), but without the strength of 13673 behind it, there is little to no accountability when it comes to ensuring contractors comply.
The revocation of this order significantly weakens protection for LGBT workers across the country. While Executive Order 13672 also prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age, all of those classes are also afforded protection under various federal laws. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not. This means Executive Order 13672 is, according to thinkprogress.org, “the only legal force protecting over a million workers,” and without Executive Order 13673 to enforce its implementation, it might as well not even exist.
Now, tell me again how pro-LGBT our so-called president is.