10 shocking times Donald Trump proved himself to be the most anti-LGBT+ president in modern history
It is hard to overstate just how devastating Donald Trump and his four-year stint in the White House has been for the American LGBT+ community.
The homophobe-in-chief has overseen a horrifying rollback of LGBT+ rights and protections in almost every area of society, including housing, education, healthcare, employment, citizenship, the military and more.
By GLAAD‘s count he’s attacked the LGBT+ community a total of 180 times, fostering a rise in anti-LGBT+ rhetoric that has led to record highs in hate crimes. Tragically this has culminated with the final year of his presidency being named the deadliest year for transgender murders since records began.
In the months leading up to the election Republicans have repeatedly attempted to overwrite his record, touting rainbow flags and selling pro-Trump Pride merchandise in a desperate bid to present him as an LGBT+ ally.
Unfortunately for Trump, his actions speak for themselves and his homophobia is hard to forget. Here are just ten of the many, many times when Trump showed his true colours to the LGBT+ community.
1. When Donald Trump pushed for the courts to legalise discrimination against LGBT+ people.
Less than a year after he entered the White House, the Trump administration was attempting to undermine federal laws protecting the rights of LGBT+ people.
In 2017 the US justice department, headed by anti-LGBT+ attorney general Jeff Sessions, argued in court that discriminating against gay people is legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
When federal judges ruled that no, you can’t legally fire people for being gay, Trump took the case to the Supreme Court – and lost again.
2. When he banned transgender people from serving in the military.
In 2017 Trump announced a ban on trans people serving openly in the US military, claiming it needed to focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory” without being burdened by the “tremendous medical costs” of trans personnel.
Each of the military chiefs who testified before Congress said they’d no seen reports that transgender service disrupted unit cohesion, and a department of defence poll found about two-thirds of active-duty personnel actually support serving alongside trans people.
And the “tremendous medical costs” Trump spoke of? The US paid almost three times more to shoulder Donald Trump’s own tax returns than it did on transgender healthcare for the US military, reports suggest.
3. When he appointed Supreme Court judges who threaten the equal marriage ruling.
Long before he was elected president, Trump was following the guidance of anti-LGBT+ lobbyists regarding his Supreme Court picks. His first shortlist featured only anti-LGBT+ conservatives, whom Trump said he would “consider” using to overturn equal marriage.
He’s lived up to this promise with his appointment of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who have firmly tipped the balance of America’s highest court against LGBT+ people.
Speaking at Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris warned that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy of equality risks being irrevocably “undone” as the rights she fought so hard to protect are thrown into jeopardy.
4. When Donald Trump denied trans people equal access to emergency shelters.
Earlier this year Trump’s housing and urban development department pushed a rule to allow federally-funded homeless shelters to reject transgender and gender non-conforming people based on “the shelter’s religious beliefs”.
He insisted it was a way to “empower” shelters, but activists said it amounted to “an act of wanton cruelty” that would put the lives and safety of trans people at risk during a global pandemic.
5. When Donald Trump fought to deny US citizenship to the children of same-sex parents.
Trump’s state department stubbornly refused to extend US citizenship to two children of same-sex couples and engaged the families in a protracted legal battle to avoid giving the infants their passports.
Although the parents were legally married US citizens, the Trump administration refused to recognise the same-sex marriages as legally valid, meaning it classified the children as “born out of wedlock”.
After persistently appealing against the court’s decisions, the state department eventually conceded defeat after a federal district judge said its argument was unlawful and raised serious constitutional issues.
6. When he covered up examples of homophobic torture and persecution in global human rights reports.
Last month the US state department was caught omitting examples of anti-LGBT+ persecution, torture and abuse from its global human rights reports, in an apparent effort to undermine efforts against homophobic violence.
These reports have been compiled by the US since 1976 and had long been viewed as a “gold standard” of objective information about the state of human rights around the world.
But in the last four years, cases of LGBT+ violence in Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Pakistan and Sudan suddenly disappeared from the reports. Overall, reporting on LGBT+ issues abroad is down by a shocking 21 per cent under Trump.
7. When his campaign for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality turned out to be a ‘sham’.
Trump’s only real claim to improving LGBT+ rights has been a much-vaulted campaign to decriminalise homosexuality around the world.
However, in August leading human rights activists revealed the campaign was nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” and has almost nothing to show for its efforts.
In fact, in some countries the push for decriminalisation has actually lost ground as Trump’s domestic policy agenda undercuts the push for LGBT+ rights abroad.
8. When he erased LGBT+ resources, data and language from government websites.
Last year it was discovered that under the Trump administration LGBT+ language, data, resource pages and anti-discrimination information had been disappearing from government websites.
The use of the word “transgender” had decreased by 40 per cent, and statistics and references on transgender populations, including trans suicide statistics, had all been erased.
In total 57 per cent pages had altered LGBT+ terms, while the use of the term “faith-based and community organisations” increased by 875 per cent and “religious freedom” by 667 per cent.
9. When Donald Trump pledged to cut funding for colleges that block anti-LGBT+ religious groups.
In September Trump’s education department declared it would suspend or terminate grants for public universities if they are found to have “violated the First Amendment” by blocking anti-LGBT+ student groups.
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The policy, which is intended to enshrine “free speech”, could lead to some colleges becoming ineligible for future grants as well.
10. When he reversed trans healthcare protections on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting.
In June of this year the Trump administration finalised a regulation rolling back Obama-era protections for transgender Americans under the Affordable Care Act.
According to the new version of the policy, the department of health and human services will be “returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology”.
To add insult to injury, the announcement came during Pride month, at the height of a global pandemic, and on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse shooting that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.