To say that it’s been a difficult week for the LGBTQ community in this country is a gross understatement. I remember vividly then-candidate Donald Trump’s GOP convention speech about this time last year when he promised to protect LGBTQ Americans. This week, he proved himself to be what I’ve always known him to be on this issue and countless others: a liar. If you’ve been paying attention at all, you can see recent developments for what they are — a seemingly coordinated attack on an entire group of citizens of this nation.
On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted his intention to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in any capacity in the U.S. military. As we’ve come to expect, there is no information on when and how this ban would go into effect. The Pentagon was not even notified, and the Joint Chiefs have announced that there will be no change to policy (turns out a tweet isn’t a legally binding agreement). However, this blatant disrespect and disregard for the sacrifice of our transgender veterans and 15,000 active duty service members horrifies me, especially as a military spouse. The move is unpatriotic and dangerous.
Yesterday, we learned that the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment based on sex. In the past 10 years, courts have interpreted discrimination based on LBGTQ status as illegal as a form of sex discrimination, prohibited by civil rights legislation like Title VII, as well as Title IX and the Fair Housing Act. This filing is a shameful attempt to remove longstanding federal protections for marginalized people.
Just in case you thought your state might come through for you, look no further than Texas. Texans bristle at anything resembling federal overstepping, so it came as no surprise on Monday when the State Senate advanced its version of North Carolina’s bathroom bill. As someone the bill purports to protect (a cisgender woman and mother to a young child), I can tell you that SB3 won’t make me any safer. It will, however, jeopardize the safety of a group of already targeted people. I am, of course, referring to transgender individuals, including children.
Some argue that the above were merely meant to distract us from urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Make no mistake, millions of LGBTQ people would have been negatively affected by the repeal of the ACA. In what seemed to be the only good news this week, the GOP “Skinny Repeal” failed.
Regardless, we must not ignore these recent events. What can you do? Read articles like this (https://medium.com/@callmethey/to-the-cis-person-angrily-sharing-news-of-the-trump-transgender-military-ban-441862263bd8) and reflect on your own behavior. Text OUR TROOPS to 30644 to get involved with the Human Rights Campaign. Donate to the ACLU to help them fight back. Hold your representatives’ feet to the fire. Whatever we do, we must not allow this behavior to go unchecked. I for one refuse to believe that this is who we are.