Trump Agencies Begin Systematic Rollback of LGBT Protections and Research | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Press Contact: 
David Farmer
March 20, 2017

Trump Agencies Begin Systematic Rollback of LGBT Protections and Research

The Trump Administration has escalated its hostility toward the LGBT community with a series of attacks aimed at undermining civil rights and erasing LGBT people from federal research. Efforts are underway across multiple cabinet-level agencies which seem to explicitly target ten million LGBT Americans.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on March 13 that its national survey of critical programs for older adults would no longer collect information on LGBT participants. HHS falsely claimed in its Federal Register announcement that it was making “no changes” to the survey. On March 10, HHS revised its Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living to removed demographic questions about LGBT people. This report helps HHS evaluate programs that serve people with disabilities. Although research indicates LGBT people faces significant barriers in accessing such services, HHS said collecting data on LGBT people was “unnecessary.” Such a loss of vital healthcare data is tantamount to ignoring the needs of millions of Americans, without any valid justification. It is unclear if HHS and other agencies are now poised to roll back research and data collection on the lives of LGBT people across other surveys and programs.

Additionally, on March 13, the State Department announced the official U.S. delegation to the UN’s 61st annual Commission on the Status of Women conference would include two outspoken anti-LGBT human rights opponents, including a representative of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM): an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Apparently, President Trump doesn’t want the government to know, or want anyone else to know, basic information about the lives of LGBT older Americans, LGBT people with disabilities, or LGBT youth facing homelessness,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. “He doesn’t want people to know they can’t be kicked out of shelters for being LGBT. But he does want a group like C-FAM—which promotes ugly lies and slurs about transgender people—to represent our country to the world.

These actions follow several retreats from defending the civil rights of transgender people:

  • March 10: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it would withdraw two important agency notices aimed at protecting LGBT people experiencing homelessness. One notice provided a posting to notify residents of HUD-funded emergency shelters of their right to be free from anti-LGBT discrimination under existing HUD regulations. The other announced a survey to evaluate the impact of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative implemented by HUD and other agencies over the last three years. HUD gave no explanation for suddenly pulling these routine notices.
  • March 2: The Department of Justice abandoned its request for a preliminary injunction against North Carolina’s anti-transgender House Bill 2.
  • March 1: The Department of Justice took the highly unusual step of declining to appeal a nationwide preliminary injunction that prevents HHS from taking any action to protect transgender people from health care discrimination under the Affordable Care Act.
  • February 22: The Departments of Justice and Education withdrew landmark 2016 guidance explaining how schools must protect transgender students under the federal Title IX law.

“This administration seems to be picking up speed in systematically attacking LGBT people, much as it is attacking other communities just because of who they are,” remarked Keisling.

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