Does Trump Really Support The LGBTQ+ Community?

Written by Kristen Costa

On November 8th (leading into November 9th), the world watched as Donald Trump was announced to be the 45th President of the United States. Since Trump’s ascension to President, the LGBTQ community has not been given any reason to believe that their worry hasn’t been warranted. In fact, it is just the opposite. Only hours after Trump’s inauguration, the LGBTQ page, amongst others, was removed from The White House website. Hopefully not an omen of what is to come, it is horrifying to see an entire community being pushed aside and being removed from the White House website.

More reason for worry, as stated in this Washington Blade article in late January, when asked about Trump’s stance on Obama’s executive order banning discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the workplace, the White House Press Secretary was unsure of Trump’s plans. Trump’s own appointed Press Secretary being unaware of the President’s agenda for the LGBTQ community does not bode well for us. If we were at all a priority, the White House Press Secretary would surely be aware of that fact. A few days after this article came out, Trump’s administration released a statement that “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election…The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

More recently, in late March, Trump revoked Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order that worked alongside the executive order protecting LGBTQ rights in the workplace. This order, “Required that companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, or gender identity” (Keen News Service). This order strengthened Obama’s executive order protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in the workplace. Without having to prove that they’re following these laws, companies may have less incentive to actually follow them. As Camilla Taylor said to Keen News Service, Trump revoking Obama’s order is “sending a message to these companies that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law.”

Most recently, on May 4th, Trump signed a new executive order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty that incited worry for the LGBTQ community. This order greatly protects the right to freedom of religion. A great concept until you add in the fact that this could potentially be used against the LGBTQ community. “The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay-rights organization, predicted that the executive order could be used to shield federal employees who refuse to process veterans or Social Security benefits for same-sex spouses, or their children. Or allow hospitals to deny visitation to same-sex spouses or permit emergency shelters to turn away gay or transgender individuals even if they receive federal funding” (The Sacramento Bee). If this order does result in unfair treatment against the LGBTQ community, the Human Rights Campaign is ready to fight it. Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “We are watching and we will challenge any effort by Jeff Sessions or other agencies of Trump’s administration to license discrimination” (The Sacramento Bee). LGBTQ advocates are taking the potential negative effects of Trump’s order seriously, and are preparing to protect LGBTQ rights against it if necessary. So while there definitely is cause for concern, there is also a silver lining: if a fight against the order becomes necessary, that is exactly what will happen.



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