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Monday, November 14, 2016

Anti-LGBT Extremists to Help Lead President-Elect Trump’s Transition

Anti-LGBT Extremists to Help Lead President-Elect Trump’s Transition
Despite claims by President-Elect Trump he would “support” and “protect” LGBT people, the Trump administration appears poised to attack millions of LGBT Americans instead, along with numerous other communities.
 
Vice President-Elect and current Indiana governor Mike Pence has been tapped to head the Trump transition team, shaping key appointments and policy priorities for the coming months. Pence is perhaps best known for promoting and signing a 2015 “religious right to discriminate” law designed to override local nondiscrimination ordinances. Picked to oversee domestic policy for the transition team is Ken Blackwell, a Senior Fellow at the extremely anti-LGBT Family Research Council, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Family Research Council regularly calls being transgender a “delusion” and a “perversion”; lobbies against any form of nondiscrimination protection; calls for excluding transgender people from entire professions such as teaching; and advocates damaging and discredited “conversion therapy” that seeks to deny and change a person’s gender identity.  In July, Blackwell took to Twitter to promote dangerous myths about transgender people and slam the NBA for opposing North Carolina’s HB2.
 
Apparently heading federal workforce matters for the Trump transition is Kay Cole James, a former official in both Bush administration and also a former Vice President of the Family Research Council. And heading preparation for White House management and budget matters along with James is former Attorney General Ed Meese, a fellow at the anti-LGBT Heritage Foundation, which is reported to be helping vet candidates for the new administration. Meese has repeatedly spoken out against LGBT equality, including backing right-to-discriminate laws like the one in Indiana.
 
The President-Elect’s choices for these critical posts show that any claim of supporting the LGBT community by the Trump campaign was pure window dressing. NCTE is deeply disturbed by these choices, which could forecast efforts to roll back policies that protect LGBT people. Because many of these policies are agencies’ interpretations of longstanding civil rights laws, the scope of protections for LGBT people will ultimately be decided by the courts. Half of Americans are currently covered by state and local laws that explicitly protect LGBT people. 
 
The last eight years have seen critical advances that have helped LGBT people and other communities have an equal shot at the American dream—the same opportunity to learn, get a job, have a home, to be safe and live a good life with their family and community. NCTE will work hard to defend these gains and fight attacks on any group of Americans—including immigrants, Muslims, women, and members of the press—while at the same time continuing efforts to increase public understanding of transgender lives and pass positive policies at the state and local levels. 
 
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