“Yet again, the Trump-Pence administration is attempting to erase LGBTQ people from federal programs and protections. Our message is this: You cannot erase us,” the Human Rights Campaign tweeted Jan. 2.
The tweet linked to an NBC News story titled, “Trump trend: LGBTQ mentions quietly axed from discrimination guidelines,” which stated, “The Trump administration has quietly but systematically removed mentions of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ from executive branch guidelines on discrimination.” Citing a Huffington Post story, the article asserted, “The removal was just the latest in a nearly three-year-long effort to strip mention of LGBTQ people from the executive branch bureaucracy.”
As has become common in left-wing thinking and LGBT advocacy, these articles imply a lack of recognition equals open rejection. Failing to adequately praise leftist LGBT achievement appears to them as hostility and opposition.
The Trump administration was burdened from the start by an obsessive media claim that Trump was openly anti-LGBT. This prejudice validated itself by hyping LGBT pages “erased” from government websites immediately after his inauguration. In reality, Trump’s actions reveal the administration’s focus on large-scale national concerns rather than micromanaging identity groups or social issues. Rather than erasing LGBT people, the administration signaled an end to LGBT-focused legislation, instead assuming equality and normalcy.
People: Donald Trump Isn’t Anti-LGBT
Unfortunately, LGBT advocacy seems fixated on public validation over quiet integration and insists on a segregated platform in which to display leftist social and legal achievements. President Trump failing to openly acknowledge LGBT politics supposedly signaled the beginning of hostility now that he was in power, despite no evidence to support such an assertion.
Trump has appointed five openly LGBT ambassadors and U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Bumatay. Vice President Mike Pence met with the openly gay Irish prime minister and his partner and publicly praised openly gay Olympic athletes amid controversy over his perceived anti-LGBT views. Trump honored hero police officer and openly gay Crystal Griner with the Medal of Honor after her bravery in saving Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republican members of Congress during an attempted assassination.
So where has this mythology of Trump “erasing” LGBT people come from, and why has it sustained itself? On Jan. 25, 2017, LGBTQ Nation reported in a story titled, “Trump White House starts scrubbing LGBTQ pages from State Department website,” that all mention of LGBT issues and related content had been removed from the White House website. It quoted Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, saying, “It is outrageous that the new administration would attempt to erase from the record this historic apology for witch hunts that destroyed the lives of innocent Americans.”
But as The New York Times reported regarding all Obama-era priorities, such as climate change, “The purge was not unexpected. It came as part of the full digital turnover of whitehouse.gov, including taking down and archiving all the Obama administration’s personal and policy pages.” All information from the previous administration was transferred to an archive, as has been the norm. There was never a controversy to begin with.
The Trump Administration Isn’t Erasing LGBT People
In the same way, the newest outrage is nothing but either a misunderstanding or intentional deception. The “erasure” of LGBT from discrimination guidelines is connected to the 2017 Ethics Guide for Department of the Interior Employees, which states, “You shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or handicap.” This differed from the 2009 Obama administration’s guidelines, which included “gender” and “sexual orientation” but not “sex” listed in the restriction.
Department of Interior spokeswoman Carol Danko, however, told the Huffington Post that the change was in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Danko explained, “Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under Title VII, the term ‘sex’ includes gender, gender identity, transgender status, sexual orientation, and pregnancy.”
Danko, accusing the Huffington Post of attempting to create controversy where none existed, stating, “Under Secretary [David] Bernhardt’s leadership, the Interior Department has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind.”
Despite acknowledging the change would in no way affect the legal rights of LGBT federal employees who were covered under the discrimination policy, Robin Maril, associate legal director at the Human Rights Campaign, argued, “Removing these protections sends a dangerous signal to workers and supervisors that non-discrimination protections are no longer a priority.” LGBT advocacy organizations have published no reports of anti-LGBT discrimination.
Donald Trump Is Refusing to Virtue-Signal
Even more absurd is the fact that the LGBT left went to the Supreme Court to ensure that “sex” under Title VII be redefined to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as they believed LGBT people were left unprotected. So why the outrage when Trump administration officials honored this language change? In our current political environment, whatever the Trump administration does or does not do is viewed as malicious. It seems no amount of reasoning will change this obsessive view.
It has become vital to the movement itself that LGBT people be under constant attack from the president and his officials. They appear incapable of functioning without sounding the alarm that the administration is targeting them. Yet year after year, accusation after accusation, the president and his administration continue to approach LGBT people as equals and simply refuse to engage in the dehumanizing practice of identity-prioritized politics.
If Trump were truly struggling to contain his hatred for gay and trans people, you could imagine he would have acted out in actual hostility toward them by now. LGBT media and advocacy certainly have given him plenty of reason to do so.
One major distinction between President Barack Obama and Trump is that the latter does not seem to need the highly segmented approval of hundreds of grievance groups in order to feel he is doing a good job. For the right, this represents a more equal-opportunity leader who focuses on issues and not virtue signaling. For the left, it seems to indicate deep and intentional disregard for the well-being of groups they believe deserve special acknowledgement.
As a gay person, I prefer the right’s view on this. If what Trump’s administration is doing is “erasing” LGBT people, then being erased must be the same thing as equality and assimilation — and that looks like progress to me.