Donald Trump erases LGBT+ people from gender equality policy

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the 2020 Council for National Policy Meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia on August 21, 2020. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty)

Despite claiming that it is a “great honour” to be the “most pro-gay” president in history, Donald Trump has erased LGBT+ people from a US government equality policy.

On Thursday, August 20, the Log Cabin Republicans, the largest group of LGBT+ conservatives in the US, released a video claiming that Donald Trump was the “most pro-gay president in American history”.

While Trump has already launched 168 attacks against the LGBT+ community during his presidency, there was apparently room for one more.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has released the draft of a revised version of its Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, ProPublica reported.

A 2012 version of the policy defined gender-based violence as “violence directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex, gender identity, or perceived adherence to socially defined norms of masculinity or femininity”.

The earlier policy recognised trans people’s experiences of gender-based violence, and used the words “gender identity” several times.

The 2012 version also specifically stated that the policy applied to everyone “regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic area, migratory status, forced displacement or HIV/AIDS status”.

However, the draft 2020 equality policy created by the Trump administration does not mention LGBT+ people at all.

Susan Markham, USAID’s former senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment, said that the field of gender issues and equality has “progressed in the eight years since 2012”.

“But this document does not do that,” she said. “It is not based on technical advances or knowledge. It’s clearly a political document about the word gender.”

This instance is not the first time the Trump administration has quietly erased LGBT+ people from government documentation and resources.

In 2019, researchers revealed that under the Trump administration LGBT+ language, data, resource pages and anti-discrimination information had been disappearing from government websites.

Combing 142 government websites that included LGBT-related information, all created before Trump took office, they created a report looking at how LGBT+ content and language had changed during Trump’s presidency.

Compared with previous versions of the pages accessed via Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, researchers found that 57 percent of the pages had altered LGBT+ terms.

On pages under the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the use of the word “transgender” decreased by 40 percent, while the use of the term “faith-based and community organizations” increased by 875 percent and “religious freedom” by 667 percent.


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