Campaigners blast White House claim Trump has a ‘great record’ on LGBT+ rights


LGBT+ campaigners have lambasted the White House press secretary’s claim Donald Trump has a ‘great record’ when it comes to the LGBT+ community.

Indeed, LGBT+ media advocacy nonprofit GLAAD replies: ‘He has an abysmal record and GLAAD keeps track – 153 attacks and counting.’

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was responding to a question from Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson. Johnson asked if President Trump would lift the ban he put in place on trans people serving in the armed forces.

McEnany responded:

‘I haven’t talked to him about that specific policy, but this president is proud that in 2019 we launched a global initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the world.

‘He has a great record when it comes to the LGBT community. The Trump administration eased a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men and he launched a plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, so we’re very proud of our achievements.’

‘Wrong side of history’

Kayleigh McEnany at a White House press briefing.
Kayleigh McEnany at a White House press briefing. Tris Reid-Smith

However GLAAD issued a detailed rebuttal of McEnany’s claims immediately afterwards:

‘It’s been almost a month since the Supreme Court ruled it illegal to fire people because they are LGBTQ. President Trump’s Justice Department fought on the wrong side of history to defend employers who discriminate.’

Indeed, since then, Trump has launched a new attack on trans healthcare rights.

GLAAD said: ‘The Trump Administration announced a rollback to transgender Americans’ right to health care.

‘This was four years to the day of the Pulse massacre that killed 49 people, most of whom were LGBTQ.’

Furthermore, Trump fought hard to pass his ban on trans people serving in the military.

The armed forces’ Joint Chiefs opposed it as did the US House of Representatives. Moreover, the federal courts blocked the move. That forced Trump to fight all the way to the Supreme Court which eventually permitted it.

GLAAD said: ‘Trump has done nothing to reverse his discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military, and his press secretary today said she hasn’t even talked to him about it.’

Worldwide rights effort ‘went nowhere’

Meanwhile GLAAD also dismissed Trump’s claims he has worked to decriminalize gay sex around the world:

‘The weak effort to decriminalize gay sex worldwide went nowhere.

‘Instead, President Trump has openly supported authoritarians who want to abolish all LGBTQ rights, including Polish President Duda, who campaigned and governed to make Poland the worst nation in the EU on LGBTQ rights. Duda just won a second term.’

From the start many LGBT+ activists around the world viewed Trump’s efforts as at best tokenistic and at worst a cynical ploy.

One of the ways US embassies have signalled their support for LGBT+ rights since the Obama administration is to fly rainbow flags. However, Trump banned this.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is working to redefine human rights based on the Bible. This will likely exclude LGBT+ people.

‘Fear and bias, not science’

Moreover, GLAAD also debunked McEnany’s claims about blood donation and HIV.

The organization has spearheaded efforts to ditch the outdated ban on sexually active gay and bi men donating blood. The US has dialled down the period men have to abstain from sex from 12 months to three. However, it has not followed other countries in scraping it entirely.

GLAAD said: ‘During a pandemic in which more than 132,000 Americans have died on President Trump’s watch, and as health officials have pleaded for more blood donations especially from COVID-19 survivors, the Trump administration is still discriminating against gay and bi men from donating blood.

‘Easing the deferral period from one year to three months is still a practice based in fear and bias, not science.’

Likewise, LGBT+ and HIV activists have questioned Trump’s commitment to tackle the virus from the outset.

GLAAD now says: ‘The Trump administration has cut funding for HIV/AIDS programs. Last  month, Trump falsely claimed there is an AIDS vaccine. There is no AIDS vaccine.’

Trump’s record is getting more anti-LGBT+

Furthermore GLAAD says Trump has launched a series of other attacks on LGBT+ Americans:

‘The Trump administration has systematically deployed multiple agencies to erase LGBTQ rights in healthcare, housing, education, to further religious exemptions that specifically target LGBTQ people, and continues to lobby against LGBTQ foster families, taking even more cases of discrimination to the US Supreme Court.’

Indeed, research earlier this year showed Trump has become more anti-LGBT+ as he prepares for the election.

Meanwhile Trump’s Democrat opponent Joe Biden has promised to proritize LGBT+ rights if he wins the election on 3 November.


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