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Congressional Right-Wingers Urge Trump to Repeal Key LGBT Protections

Congressman Mark Meadows

The ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus has released a list of more than 200 federal regulations it wants Donald Trump to repeal as soon as he is sworn in as president — including key protections against anti-LGBT discrimination.

Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of Utah, the incoming chairman of the caucus, released the list this week after presenting them to Trump, The Washington Post reports. It enumerates rules, regulations, and executive orders, mostly put in place during President Obama’s tenure, that a new president could repeal without a vote in Congress.

The primary LGBT protections listed involve education and health care. The Freedom Caucus wants the Department of Education to revoke the guidelines it issued in May on the treatment of transgender students in public K-12 schools and any other schools, colleges, or universities that receive federal funding. The guidelines call on schools to recognize students’ gender identity and treat them accordingly, which includes using their preferred names and pronoun and allowing them to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and other single-sex facilities that comport with their gender identity.

The guidelines are nonbinding but are intended to help schools comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools that get federal funds. The Education and Justice departments have held that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity. Even though the guidelines are nonbinding, several states have sued the federal government in an effort to revoke them.

The Freedom Caucus also wants Trump to repeal the Department of Health and Human Services regulation that implemented the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, the law informally known as Obamacare. It prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender or sex stereotyping, something that affects many LGBT people, and says federally funded health care providers cannot deny services related to gender transition.

JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, denounced the caucus’s efforts. “In a ridiculous hit list of policies they want revoked, the House Freedom Caucus is shamefully demanding a rollback of protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people — protections the majority of Americans support,” she said in a press release. “These guidelines ensure Americans aren’t denied health care simply because of who they are or whom they love and ensure transgender students have the same opportunities as their peers to thrive in a classroom. They are crucially important protections that absolutely must remain in place. Lives depend on them. Congressman Mark Meadows’ and the House Freedom Caucus’ efforts must be stopped. It’s time for folks to stand up, speak out, and demand lawmakers keep these fundamental protections for LGBTQ people in place.”

As evidence of public support for such protections, the HRC pointed to poll results it released earlier this month in which Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that 69 percent of respondents supported the Equality Act, a proposed federal law that would provide a far more comprehensive ban on anti-LGBT discrimination than the regulations targeted by the Freedom Caucus. Even 55 percent of Trump supporters supported the Equality Act.

The regulations the Freedom Caucus wants repealed also include many dealing with the environment, labor, reproductive rights, food and nutrition, enforcement of immigration laws, banking, and for-profit colleges. Vox has an extensive analysis here. 

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