17:42, April 21 182 0

2017-04-21 17:42:04


First 100 Days: Trump’s troubled record on transgender issues

Donald Trump the presidential candidate made history as the first Republican nominee to vow in his acceptance speech, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”

We didn’t believe him, not just because he struggled, trying to get out all the letters without stumbling. And not just because he qualified his offer of protection to be limited to “violence and oppression” from foreigners. We have a lot more worries about homegrown haters, Mr. President.

As we close in on Trump’s first 100 days in office — yes, it feels like it’s been years, not days, to us, too — a review of the accomplishments for trans Americans does not take long, whereas the list of setbacks and stoked fears grows longer each and every day.

Most recently, the president’s choice for Army secretary was revealed to harbor anti-trans sentiments that can only be described as religious bigotry.

While speaking to the Chattanooga Tea Party in September, Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green said he believes transgender identity to be a “disease:”

If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease. It is a part of the DSM-6, I think it is, the book of diagnostic psychological procedures or diagnoses. It’s very interesting to see what’s happening in government, or in our nation.

In reality, the latest DSM is the 5th, not 6th, and it removed gender identity disorder as a diagnosis, replacing it with gender dysphoria, a medical condition, and not even close to being described as a disease. The American Psychiatric Association describes it as “a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” It includes mention of the distress this can cause. That distress is exasperated by the type of bigotry displayed by Green, who is to replace the Army’s first out gay secretary.

In February, the Trump administration dealt the sharpest blow yet to transgender civil rights in revoking the policy set forth by the Obama administration on transgender students. Whereas the Justice and Education departments had previously warned schools they had to treat trans students according to their gender identity, in rest room usage, locker room access and sports team participation, the new White House scrapped all that.

And that was music to the ears of supporters like Michelle Bachman, the former representative from Minnesota who declared God “answered the prayers of believers” to prevent transgender people from accessing bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

We were in a situation where the president of the United States on his own just issued a sheet of paper and said, overnight, every single public school in the country would have to have the girls’ bathrooms open to the boys and the boys’ bathrooms open to the girls.

Rescinding the guidelines to schools that guaranteed protections from discrimination, which the prior administration had based on its interpretation of Title IX, resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a hearing of the case of Gavin Grimm, a trans boy in Virginia fighting for his right to use the boys’ bathroom. That case was kicked back to the lower court which now will decide whether his school district can lawfully restrict transgender students to either separate gender neutral facilities or to rest rooms matching the gender they were assigned on their birth certificates.

On that same issue, anti-LGBT Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped the lawsuit his predecessor filed against North Carolina in response to a fake-repeal of the controversial law known as HB2.

It was reported Sessions squabbled with Education secretary Betsy DeVos, over the decision to rescind trans protections for students, but she was only willing to fight so far, and reportedly bent to pressure from President Trump.

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