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The War on LGBTQ+ Rights ~ YE GAY OL’E VALLEY

By: Dani Lengevin – Oct. 2019

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think,” Adolf Hitler. This should be the current administration’s mantra. As far as I can see, Trump’s administration and most of his followers don’t think or at least have checked the part of their brains that has a conscience at the “wall”.

Since his induction, Trump has supported almost 60 proposals targeting the reduction of LGBTQ+ rights. This administration is systematically taking efforts to eradicate the equality of 15 million people in the U.S. alone. That number could change and drop dramatically due to many policies that have been put in place that no longer allow certain agencies from collecting data about the LGBTQ+ community numbers and needs. In essence, there appears to be a concerted effort to eradicate this community from existence. What will stop them from coming after you when they’re done with us?

Trump’s first move at destroying this community happened on January 31, 2017, just eleven days after his inauguration, when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch has a history of anti-transgender rulings. He was passed over only to be replaced by another with the same mindset. After that, Trump nominated several other anti-LBGTQ+ supporters to a number of district courts, I imagine, to carry out his agenda against us. Under his guidance the Department of Health and Human services has proposed and were successful in passing a multitude of discriminatory rulings to undermine the lives of this population. These acts have rolled back protections for healthcare, housing, and education for LGBTQ+ U.S. citizens. They are not the only federal department to do so. The Department of Labor, Justice, State, Housing and Urban Development, Defense, Labor, Education, Homeland Security and even the UN have gotten in on this sick and twisted Machiavellian enterprise.

One disturbing trend is the attack on our LGBTQ+ youth. Data collection on this community have been stripped as well as protections for transgender students, LGBTQ+ caregivers, students who have been attacked due to their sexual orientation, and LGBTQ+ homeless teens. There are approximately 5 million of these young people in the United States. A recent study by the Human Rights Campaign has found that 70% of them (3,500,000) have expressed a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. And why shouldn’t they?

Their own government, the one that is supposed to protect their unalienable and constitutional rights is doing everything possible to roll back the advances by previous administrations to level the playing field. This is our posterity and their being told by these actions that they are, in fact, worthless.

In the past, our country has prided itself on being the champion of the underdog. After all, it was the underdog who took on the most powerful country in the world to become independent. “With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Remember those words? Perhaps we should add, “As long as they are white and straight.”

Health care for this community is being gutted. The Department of Health and Human Services, “. . . proposed a rule that would remove all recognition that federal law prohibits transgender patients from discrimination in health care and encouraged hospital officials, staff and insurance companies to deny care to patients based on religious and moral beliefs,” (National Center for Transgender Equality). What happened to, “First do no harm”? Some of these moves have even affected the disabled.

In December of 2017 the Justice Department made it easier for businesses to illegally discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community as long as they can cite religious reasons. This is known as the “license to discriminate”. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Who will be next? What if it were you? Would you speak up then? Is anyone “THINKING” about the ramifications of all of these actions on all American citizens? This same department released a memo earlier in 2017 encouraging attorneys to, “Take the legal position that federal law does not protect transgender workers from discrimination. These are people! American citizens! That’s a workforce of 1.4 million.

There are over a half million homeless people in America alone. Studies are varied when it comes to how many of these homeless belong to this community being attacked presently. It is somewhere between 11 and 40%. So, Let’s be conservative and say it’s 20%. That is upwards of 100,000 LGBTQ+ homeless. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has: removed requirements that applicants for homelessness funding maintain anti-discrimination policies and demonstrate efforts to serve LGBTQ people and their families and proposed a plan massively cutting regulations prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in HUD-funded homeless shelters (National Center for Transgender Equality).

This has got to stop. Tyrannical and dictatorial administrations in the past began by attacking the marginalized. They slowly and incrementally took away rights a little at a time, with seemingly no notice by the masses. By the time it was noticed, it was too late. Once one group was “taken care of”, they targeted the next and then the next. Think!

Our country was built on diversity NOT religion or discrimination. It is our differences as much as our similarities that connects us and makes this country great. If we don’t protect those who need it the most, then what are we but a nation of empty promises and hypocrites. ◊

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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