OpEd: Trans Ban Just the Start of White House Regression on LGBT Rights

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The calamity and catastrophe that is President Donald Trump impacts our country everyday. Last week, however, it impacted our community adversely not once, but twice.

First, the Justice Department, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions authored a legal brief arguing that sexual orientation discrimination is not a form of legal sex discrimination. This reverses the progressive legal initiatives of the Obama Administration.  It’s an abhorrent and Neanderthal policy determination by the Trump administration.

Second, and more publicly known, was the presidential tweet attempting to ban all transgender persons from serving in the military. This warrants nothing less than your condemnation and our censure.

Significantly, without even reaching out for partners to criticize the President, politicians and community leaders on both sides of the aisle echoed disapproval and disgust with the presidential proclamation, both as to manner and substance.

First and foremost, even the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced they would not initiate the president’s initiative until and unless it was presented properly, through appropriate channels of communication.

Second, enlightened legislators, Republican and Democrat, took up the mantle of the transgender community. From local groups to national voices, there was a clear and clarion call that anyone who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving in the military.

Third, while the president referred to the lame excuse of ‘cost considerations’ as the operative reason for his determination, we know, and I suspect that courts will see, that it is phony on one hand, and legally insufficient on the other. 

Administrative expedience is never a lawful reason for denying someone a constitutional right- and banning a class of citizens the opportunity to serve in the military solely because of their gender would be an unconstitutional restriction.

Elections have consequences. Mark these down as some of them. But the Trump administration is already infecting and influencing the LGBTQ community in many more adverse ways. There won’t be any more ‘Harvey Milk Days’ at the White House, celebrating LGBT champions of change. The administrators at the helms of government are mostly now insensitive to our interests and apathetic as to our needs.

In June, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS angrily resigned, saying in a Newsweek article that President Trump doesn’t care about HIV. The group noted that Trump took down the Office of National AIDS Policy website when he took office and hasn’t appointed anyone to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Ultimately, there probably won’t be one.

SFGN has already run features documenting how many of the top administration cabinet officials have vigorously opposed LGBT human rights issues. The majority of cabinet officials with legislative backgrounds have a history of opposing laws supportive of ENDA, equal rights, domestic partnerships, gay marriages, and gays in the military. They rise to power with the law on our side, but do you trust them to enforce those laws? You should not blindly. In fact, you should instead follow the credo of Ronald Reagan, the Republican Adonis: “Trust, but Verify.”

While the transgender ban is the most transparent and galling of anti-LGBT initiatives undertaken by the Trump administration, we need to keep our eyes on the White House very closely. The people at the reins of power do not have our interests at heart. Our place at the table has been kicked under the chair. 

The response from our community to the transgender ban has been strong and forceful. 

Here at SFGN, we will be loud and proud, weekly and with vigor. We will cover the story and uncover the lies of those who seek to deceive you, in print and online. 

This week, SFGN has created a poster of Uncle Sam in a rainbow uniform, paraphrasing the world famous words of the renowned German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller, first published during World War II. 

Display it in your home. Cut it out and put it in your dorm room, on your frig, or mail it to a friend. Speak out for yourself. If not now, when? If not you, who?

 


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