Trump Pledges to End LGBTQ+ Protections “On Day One”

Donald Trump speaking to reporters about the storming of the U.S. Capitol. (Youtube screenshot.)

Donald Trump says he will end a series of LGBTQ+ protections established by the Biden administration “on day one” of his presidency if he is reelected in November. 

“We’re gonna end it on day one,” Trump said during an appearance on “Kayal and Company,” a conservative talk radio show in Philadelphia. “Don’t forget, that was done as an order from the president. That came down as an executive order. And we’re gonna change it — on day one it’s gonna be changed.”

Trump was referencing last month’s Department of Education Department changes to Title IX, the federal civil rights law preventing sex discrimination in schools and education programs that receive government funding. The new regulations, which are slated to take effect Aug. 1, cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time.

President Biden in a 2021 executive order wrote that “all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“For students attending schools and other educational institutions that receive Federal financial assistance, this guarantee is codified, in part, in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” Biden wrote in the executive order, which formally charged the Education Department with overhauling Title IX regulations instituted under Trump.

“Tell your people not to worry about it,” Trump told hosts Nick Kayal and Dawn Stensland on Friday, referring to the new Title IX rule. “It’ll be signed on day one. It’ll be terminated.”

Trump followed that with more anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Black statements during a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey on May 13, the day after his radio appearance. Trump told the crowd, “On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing Critical Race Theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content onto our children.” 

Trump made a similar claim in March while campaigning in Iowa. 

These inflammatory statements by Trump come as new polling shows Trump ahead of President Biden in all but one swing state—Wisconsin. No candidate has won the presidency without winning Pennsylvania in the past three decades, which is why both candidates and Vice President Kamala Harris, have been to Pennsylvania frequently in recent months. A new set of Times/Siena polls, including one with The Philadelphia Inquirer, “reveal an erosion of support for the president among young and nonwhite voters upset about the economy and Gaza.”

Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson, who was named on the TIME “List of the 100 Most Influential People in the World” last month, said last week that “Black and LGBTQ voters are key in the  2024 election. We’re going to be the deciding factor.”

Robinson made the statement on MSNBC to Jonathan Capehart, host of “The Saturday/Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.” Robinson, who is the first Black, queer woman to lead the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, says she is “embracing concepts of disruption right now.”

In June 2023, HRC declared a first-ever state of emergency in response to the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation proposed and passed in statehouses across the country by GOP lawmakers.

Robinson said, “Part of our work in the election is about making sure that we maintain the White House and that we maintain the Senate with a pro-equality majority.”

Robinson said, “But it’s also that when those folks are in office, they are governing on our issues first, so they understand that to fight for LGBTQ+ people and trans lives, you have got to focus on restructuring democracy so that our votes and our voices matter.”

As PGN has reported in recent weeks, LGBTQ+ identity is at an all-time high of 7.6%, and a full 30% of Gen Z women identify as LGBTQ+. This means the votes of queer and trans voters will be pivotal in such a tight race where only a small number of votes could determine the race. PGN has also reported on the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. It was a pivotal factor for LGBTQ+ youth 13-24 in a recent study by The Trevor Project, which showed a rise in suicidality among that demographic, in large part due to the pressures of the legislation and isolation caused by book banning

The former president has already said he might not accept the results of the election and continues to make the false claim that he was the true winner of the 2020 election and that it was only through fraud that Biden was made president. Trump’s current criminal trial is for election interference and there is a subsequent trial pending in Georgia for his attempts to subvert the vote there. Pennsylvania is also named in that Georgia lawsuit against Trump.

Robinson is not wrong in her assertions about whose votes could determine the election. Polls show an ever-tightening race between Biden, who is dealing with two wars the U.S. is funding and an economy still wreaking havoc for middle-class, working-class and working-poor Americans, while Trump is in court for yet another trial. Every vote will count, particularly in pivotal states like Pennsylvania. Yet for younger voters especially, who may not have been attentive to the first Trump presidency, the dearth of information on what Trump did to LGBTQ+ people may lead some to think Trump is the “lesser of two evils”—particularly as campus protests over the war in Gaza, which target Biden and ignore Trump, continue to play out. 

During his first presidency, Trump established a retinue of anti-LGBTQ+ policies, including restrictions on healthcare for gay and trans individuals via his Health and Human Services Department, restrictions on residency and access to affordable housing via HUD, restrictions on employment access and a myriad of restrictions on LGBTQ+ students via his Department of Education. Trump also banned displays of Pride flags at U.S. embassies.

Trump excised all LGBTQ+ references from federal websites and opposed LGBTQ+ rights in various court cases through amicus legal briefs. The Trump administration also imposed a ban on transgender people from military service. Biden reversed that policy.

One of the most sweeping anti-LGBTQ+ policies Trump established during his presidency was a Department of Health and Human Services administrative rule rolling back health care discrimination protections for all LGBTQ people. The policy change was announced on June 12, on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, which killed 49 mostly queer and trans people, in Orlando, Florida.

First proposed in May 2019, the rule reversed an Obama-era ruling much like Biden’s new Title IX policy. Obama’s HHS determined that sex discrimination under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act applied to discrimination against queer and trans people, as well as people who are seeking or have had an abortion.

Among the things Trump’s HHS said at the time, “HHS will enforce Section 1557 by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”

The Obama-era rule made it illegal for doctors, hospitals and other health care workers to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of. The Trump administration rule allowed health care providers to deny care to anyone gay or trans. The rule allowed hospitals to house trans women and men according to their sex assigned at birth.

It also allowed insurance companies to reinstate bans on transition-related care like gender-affirming surgery or hormone replacement therapy. And it impacted things as simple as disallowing services for gay and lesbian cancer patients and allowed all healthcare providers to refuse treatment to gay and lesbian patients and refuse reproductive healthcare to lesbian couples.

Yet as PGN reported, that ruling wasn’t even addressed by the Biden administration’s HHS until last year. The impact of Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ policy has been lasting.

And it also impeded the implementation of vaccines during the MPX outbreak. 

In his recent rallies and radio and TV interviews, Trump has also promised to enact at least a dozen policies targeting transgender rights as president, including a nationwide ban on transgender student-athletes. Trump has also suggested a federal law that recognizes only two genders. He has also vowed to punish health care providers who administer gender-affirming medical care to minors and any support for gay and lesbian youth.

Although Title IX is a federal law, Republican governors, attorneys general and education officials have, since Biden’s announcement, pledged to reject the law’s expanded protections for trans students. School districts in those states have been instructed to ignore them. Former Trump press secretary and Arkansas GOP Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders ordered the state to ignore the Biden regulations. She said she would “take legal action” against the Biden administration “for any financial loss, including loss of funding.”

Lawsuits filed by more than a dozen Republican-led states this month allege the administration’s rule undermines federal nondiscrimination protections for students who are not transgender and incorrectly applies the reasoning of a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to Title IX.

“Trump is currently the greatest threat to LGBTQ people,” LGBTQ legislative researcher Allison Chapman told the left-leaning news site Truthout. 

“If Trump wins the presidency all LGBTQ+ people are in immediate and imminent danger, especially trans kids,” Chapman said. “I do not believe any trans person in the U.S.A. will be safe.”PGN detailed the Trump administration’s plethora of anti-LGBTQ+ policies which began on day one of his presidency and continued through the final weeks of his administration. The promises Trump is making about anti-LGBTQ+ policy have established precedent. Trump will also have the potential to appoint more Supreme Court justices as several current justices are considering retirement. Trump’s third appointment to the court, Amy Coney Barrett, could still be making policy in 2060 if she lives to be the age of the justice she replaced, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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