Amid much (read: justified ) fear in the LGBT community of the new White House Administration's stance on LGBT rights, The White House has waved a white flag of sorts to the LGBT community: LGBT worker protections issued by executive order of President Obama won’t be rescinded.
In case you’ve forgotten what that means, let’s do a quick recap:
Back in 2014 President Obama signed an executive order that did two things: 1) It prohibited discrimination in the civilian federal workforce on the basis of gender identity, and 2) It prohibited federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ok, now let’s talk about why this doesn’t even come close to being enough. The new administration has been quite busy in the short time that they’ve occupied the oval office: Fighting with the ‘war with the media’ and fake news, ‘clarifying’ the YUGE turnout for the inauguration, signing into law a discriminatory Muslim ban that sparked worldwide protests, and firing an Attorney General who refused to defend the previous executive order. Needless to say, The President has had his tiny hands full.
Trump prides himself on being the first Republican President to acknowledge the LGBT community in a major campaign speech, a feat of extreme activism that required our new leader to simply utter the words “LGBT” on stage and pose with a flag. But this begs the question, does any of this really help LGBT people? The answer is a resounding "NO". Now before The President and his ilk begin to call him a champion of LGBT rights (again?), we’d like to set the record straight.
Our community is made up of PEOPLE whose identities lie in much more than the person they cuddle up with at night. LGBT people are women, immigrants, black and brown people affected by police brutality and systemic racism. We are students drowning in debt to afford a college education. We are the millions of Americans whose health insurance from Affordable Care Act faces an uncertain fate. We are the more than 21 trans people who have lost their lives as victims of brutal hate crimes in in the first 30 days of 2017.
Simply put, LGBT people are affected by the new Administration's polcies on a level much deeper than gender and sexuality. Policies such as repealing the Affordable Care Act and imposing a Muslim ban, affect much more than Middle Eastern minorities and lower-income Americans, rather it affects ALL minorities through the political legitimization of "othering."
To the Trump Administration we say to you- "LGBT" isn’t some buzzword that represents a class of people only affected by discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our gender and sexual orientation are not the only source of prejudice we face in our daily lives. Intersectionality means that even if you were pro-LGBT, our community would still be devastated by your policies surrounding race, gender, and socioeconomic class. You don’t have our permission to use our struggles and hard earned victories as distraction points on mainstream media, nor to mislead people into believing that your administration is sympathetic to the needs of our community.
Maybe our new leader's talents are better suited for reality tv and daily Twitter wars with celebrities (May we suggest Taylor Swift?). Pandering to the LGBT community by not advancing our equality, but rather deciding not to erase years of progress doesn't count as political advancement. But what can we expect from someone with a hideous spray-on tan, a suit that doesn't fit but millions of dollars in the bank? Our President clearly isn't interested in self-improvement or that of minority communties around the US.
PS- If the Trump Administration is really committed to LGBT Justice, they should have a sit-down with the VP, Mike Pence, hater of all things non-white and evangelical. Just a thought 😃
UPDATE: Before I could even publish this post this happened. Read our response here