Washington, D.C. – From removing protections for LGBTQ people in housing and shelters to allowing discrimination in medical care, President Trump’s hand-picked homophobes and transphobes who served in his cabinet have wrought havoc on queer and trans communities throughout the four years of the Trump presidency. The Cabinet and former Cabinet members who have done the most damage are names LGBTQ people should not forget: Dr. Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Bill Barr, Attorney General; Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education; Gen. John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security and White House Chief of Staff; Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security; Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State; Jeff Sessions, Attorney General; Chad Wolf, Secretary of Homeland Security.

            Less than two hours after Trump and his virulently anti-LGBTQ activist Vice President Mike Pence were sworn into office, the LGBTQ webpages, citations, references, helplines, and more were removed from the official White House webpage. Three days later, former Secretary of State John Kerry’s apology for President Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450 and the Lavender Scare was removed from the State Department website. In February 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos directed the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to revoke the Obama administration’s guidelines outlining schools’ obligations to transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In March 2017, Dr. Ben Carson, HUD Secretary with a long history of anti-LGBTQ statements, took out Obama-era initiatives protecting LGBTQ people in housing and shelters. Carson withdrew a requirement for emergency shelters receiving HUD funding to post information about LGBTQ people’s rights to access shelter safely and in accordance with their gender identity. In June 2017, the State Department hired anti-transgender activist Bethany Kozma to head the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights at USAID (US Agency for International Development).

            The Administration’s last year was no better than the first. In January 2020 the Interior Department deleted “sexual orientation” from its anti-discrimination guidelines. The same month, HHS proposed rules revising regulations that guide the participation of faith-based organizations as service providers of federally funded programs, allowing for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. In July new rules proposed by the DOJ proposed ending asylum for LGBT+ individuals. In November HHS allowed taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to use “religious beliefs” as an excuse to deny placement of children in the homes of LGBT couples. As we reported previously, Trump continued the assault this month when HHS on January 7, announced a new rule that will permit social service agencies and providers that receive HHS grant funding to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as on the basis of religion and sex. (Philadelphia Gay News – Victoria A. Brownworth at https://epgn.com/2021/01/08/a-timeline-of-the-anti-lgbtq-trump-administration/)

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