The surprising 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court that says federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers was a major victory for our community in the midst of some dark days during Pride Month.
It was a huge defeat for the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation.
And we all know Donald Trump doesn't take kindly to the word "defeat."
In the midst of celebrating this momentous decision, we cannot forget that he ramped up his assault on our community last Friday and will likely go further during the months leading up to the election, despite the ruling from the Supreme Court.
At a time in our country when there is so much pain, so much hurt, so much violence, and one person working overtime to create so much division, so much bigotry and so much hate, there can only exist utter contempt for Trump with his latest move against our community last week.
As if he hasn’t hurt us and everyone else enough, he slaps on another layer of discrimination. Supreme Court rulings be damned!
The detestable news came late Friday when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reversed changes to the Affordable Care Act, made by the Obama administration, that established antidiscrimination protections for transgender people seeking health care. The amendment defined gender as “one’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” The Trump administration reverted to the original wording of the law, which was at its heart grossly discriminatory.
Among other things, the new regulation would let health care workers, hospitals, and insurance companies that receive federal funding refuse to provide or cover services for transition-related care.
All of this, while we continue to read, week after week, of another senseless homicide of a transgender person.
Trump’s latest play to appease the Christian right only adds fire to their zest for “religious freedom” by purportedly “protecting” health care professionals from being penalized for the actions they do or don’t do in their jobs because of their moral beliefs. That means making it legal to provide care only for religious white straight cisgender patients.
And all of this during a pandemic that continues to rage.
This barbaric slap in the face is nothing new for our community from Trump and his diabolical HHS. Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, the Transgender Law Center, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund have all threatened to sue.
In his previous display of kowtowing to Christians, he violently and illegally removed peaceful American protesters from the outside grounds of the White House so that he could pose in front of a church holding a Bible upside down.
Yes, that’s most indicative of a God-fearing Christian.
Why is this all surprising? I wrote previously that if Mayor Pete had gone further in the Democratic primary, Trump would have unleashed hatred toward our community to try to stop Buttigieg. Trump and his ilk went after him within a day of the announcement that Buttigieg won the Iowa Caucus. Mayor Pete is out of the race, but the LGBTQ+ community is not, because Trump is going to drag us viciously in, and it will only get worse from here.
Trump began by dividing immigrants and Hispanics, and torturing children at the border. That’s the depth of depravity that he has no problem going to. And for the last two weeks he has been divvying up “whites” from the “Blacks.” Trump at the moment must feel that his atrocious comments and actions, in the wake of the George Floyd tragedy, adequately stoked the hostility toward Black people that they were intended to. Now he's putting the bull's-eye on our backs, as he targets the gays, the lesbians, the transgenders, the queers, and everyone else who isn’t a man like him or has sex with the opposite sex like him.
Mr. Macho “law and order,” bragging about ripping through peaceful protesters like “a knife cutting butter,” now seeks to tear up the LGBTQ+ community.
In his upcoming book, former National Security Adviser John Bolton says he was hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during his tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations. So you can be damn sure this revocation of the Obama transgender rule in the ACA is only another sinister play for reelection. Most likely, this was his attempt to apologize to the evangelicals for holding the Bible upside down.
And that same people are pissed about the Supreme Court ruling and the seeming "betrayal" by Neil Gorsuch, so they're going to be looking at their prophet Trump to make amends, and it won't be pretty.
The way he held the holy tome is a metaphor for what he’s doing to our country and clearly how he wishes to define our community, not right side up but — according to him and his deranged base — upside down.
We have not seen the last of Trump turning us over and turning on us. It’s going to get worse. Fiercely worse. Just a day before the HHS/ACA reversal, the Republican National Committee put out propaganda about the Trump-Pence administration’s supposed “Unprecedented Steps” for the LGBTQ+ community. A hypocritical attempt to be part of Pride, no doubt.
Well, the HRC compiled the real list of "accomplishments," and you can see it here. The HRC also said the administration “is the most virulently anti-LGBTQ administration in decades — the RNC cannot put lipstick on a pig.”
Watch for it. Just as he says that he’s been the best president for Blacks, had the gall to say he was better than Lincoln and then zapped Blacks with bigotry bluster, Trump's about to do the same thing to us. Bragging about "unprecedented steps" for our community, all the while stabbing the LGBTQ+ community in the back. We can see his menacing strategy from a mile away.
And this virulent behavior will crank up as Trump and his base escalate their treatment of us like pigs, by slinging as much mud at us as they possibly can. We will be a contrivance in his ploy to remain emperor.
Trump wrongfully used the American military as a backdrop to show his autocratic mind-set. He’s using the wheels of the Justice Department as a monocratic machine. Twisting the State Department into the Despotic Department. And bending HHS into Health and Inhuman Services.
There’s going to be more where that came from. In the dictator-oppressed countries Trump loves and whose leaders he coddles, like Saudi Arabia, gay relationships are criminalized. It would thrill the wicked evangelical base — and Trump’s base as a whole — if Trump worked to make us criminals in the U.S. too.
He won’t get away with marginalizing our lives, and we cannot let him get away with using us in his mission to literally divide us so he can conquer. The latest move by the HHS should be looked at as a harbinger of things to come as he seeks, like Bolton says, to be reelected at any costs, even if that means destroying our country in the process.
It’s going to happen. The metaphorical batons, tear gas, flash bangs and billy clubs are coming our way. We will be demonized to the prophesized. He will seek to cut us like knives through butter. We have been warned.
John Casey is a PR professional and an adjunct professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist fo The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.