As the harsh reality of the new administration sinks in, it’s clear that they will undo much of what Obama has done. We’re already getting strong signals that much of what we celebrated over the past eight years will likely be nothing but a memory by 2017.
If anyone out there still thinks Trump is “not that bad on gay issues” please read this list and think again.
Here’s a list of the things that we can probably kiss goodbye soon after the new president takes office.
1. Employment protections
In the absence of federal legislation, President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Obama later extended the protections to transgender workers. While Trump hasn’t singled these protections out, he has promised to repeal all of Obama’s executive orders. Vice President Mike Pence, who will play an outsized role in the Trump Administration, would gladly add this to his list of measures to axe.
2. Transgender students
On the other hand, Pence has explicitly promised that the Trump administration will roll back guidance allowing transgender students to choose the bathroom that matches their gender identify. “Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools,” Pence told religious right leader James Dobson in an interview last month.
3. Housing discrimination
The Department of Housing and Urban Development decided that government housing discrimination issues do include LGBTQ people, even though they are not called out in federal statute. Since that’s not codified in law, the next HUD Secretary will likely rescind that protection.
4. Health care rights
Trump’s promise that he will repeal Obamacare will have multiple consequences. For one thing, the Obama administration specifically said that the law prohibits discrimination in health care. For another, the law prevents health insurers from refusing to offer a plan or charging more to someone on the basis of a pre-existing condition. This has been a major benefit for people with HIV, who are now facing a return to the old insurance market, and getting essentially locked out of them unless they find a group or company plan.
5. Marriage benefits
Trump can’t stop marriage equality–at least not right away. But his appointees could erode a number of benefits that we enjoy as a result of it. For example, the administration could decide to overturn Obama’s decision to extend family leave benefits to same-sex couples. Or the Pentagon could stop allowing military personnel from bringing their same-sex spouses with them on overseas assignments.
6. A hostile Supreme Court
Not at first. By filling the spot left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia, Trump will merely return the Court to its previous conservative tilt. But if Anthony Kennedy retires–and at age 80, he’s ready–we will lose our staunchest and only conservative supporter on the Court. You can guarantee that Kennedy’s replacement will be nowhere near as friendly to our issues. If you think that a hostile court can’t erode decided law, you haven’t been following the debate about abortion.
7. A resurgence of conversion therapy
The Obama administration called for a ban on conversion therapy for youth. On the other hand, Mike Pence has spoken kindly of it. Don’t be surprised if the federal government decides that conversion therapy is a perfectly legitimate treatment.
8. Religious freedom legislation
Otherwise known as a free pass to discriminate and much prized by Trump’s evangelical supporters. Trump has promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which will give homophobes carte blanche to refuse services to us on vaguely worded religious grounds. In other words, we’ll have a replay of Indiana’s own religious freedom law under Pence. The big difference is that the financial pressure that business placed on Pence won’t apply here, because the law isn’t geographically focused. How can you boycott the entire U.S.?
How much of this will come to pass is anyone’s guess. But if you are placing your hope in Trump being relatively friendly to us, forget it. He’s probably going to delegate the work of governing to Mike Pence and his appointees.
That means the future of equality looks pretty bleak.
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