Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden spearheaded a blistering backlash against the Trump administration that on Friday (June 12) “cruelly” erased precious healthcare protections for trans patients less than two weeks into Pride Month.
The Department of Health and Human Services finalised a rule that effectively means gender identity is no longer an avenue for sex dissemination in healthcare. It’s part of a slew of policy changes across education, housing and employment to narrow the legal definition of discrimination to not include trans folk.
The presumptive Democratic Party nominee slammed the move, echoing the devastating timing of the move and made a charged rallying cry to “defeat” Trump in the November presidential elections.
Biden noted that the rule change intersected on the four year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, where a man laid siege on a Latinx queer club that killed 49 people.
He also drew attention to healthcare protections being rolled back in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic as well as it being Pride Month.
Joe Biden: ‘Donald Trump’s cruelty truly knows no bounds.’
“On the fourth anniversary of Pulse,” Biden tweeted to his six million followers, “in the middle of Pride month, during a global pandemic.
On the fourth anniversary of Pulse.
In the middle of Pride month.
During a global pandemic.
Donald Trump’s cruelty truly knows no bounds. We have to defeat him this November. https://t.co/YAy4ZGxxyD
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 13, 2020
“Donald Trump’s cruelty truly knows no bounds. We have to defeat him this November.”
This was amplified by Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. He tweeted to his more than 12 million followers: “It is outrageous that Trump, in the middle of a pandemic, is working to prevent LGBTQ+ Americans from getting healthcare they need.
It is outrageous that Trump, in the middle of a pandemic, is working to prevent LGBTQ+ Americans from getting health care they need. Discrimination of any kind has no place in our society. We must defeat Trump, guarantee health care as a right and protect all LGBTQ+ Americans. https://t.co/aNhYc2R4M5
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 12, 2020
“Discrimination of any kind has no place in our society. We must defeat Trump, guarantee health care as a right and protect all LGBTQ+ Americans”.
Various lawmakers, former Demonostric presidential contenders, city leaders, singers, comedians and variois other public figures joined in the choris of criticism against the move.
The callousness of Trump to announce this during LGBTQ+ Pride month as the country mourns the four year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The cruelty is the point and it knows no bounds.
We will fight this. https://t.co/oi8XpPAbXb
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 12, 2020
This is unacceptable https://t.co/ynf2xQrbTm
— TINASHE (@Tinashe) June 13, 2020
Who is going to tell her? 👉 https://t.co/MyuTzgxUbV https://t.co/Mbp05PpmJ6
— Tammy Baldwin (@tammybaldwin) June 12, 2020
Forget “repeal and replace,” the Trump administration’s new health policy is “destroy and discriminate.” https://t.co/FrrJc1emmF
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 13, 2020
At a time when there is so much violence against trans people, it is abhorrent that the Trump admin is stripping away critical health protections.
Reminder: Under NYS law, discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression is ILLEGAL.
NY will keep fighting. https://t.co/2iiaISmO9h
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 12, 2020
Truly evil. No other word. https://t.co/mL8t4RvAT1
— Rufus Gifford (@rufusgifford) June 12, 2020
Trump only feels alive if others are suffering, the cruelty is the point, always, he knows about Tulsa Massacre, Juneteenth, Pulse, and Axe-handle day in Jacksonville. He is targeting these dates and those that hold them tender for maximum pain-infliction. @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/dEUFv8JaSF
— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) June 12, 2020
This administration is showing us over and over again: The cruelty is the point. https://t.co/MtDoHOMLlz
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) June 13, 2020
this is just fucking evil. Fuck these fucks. https://t.co/bDKxUFeGsw
— Benj Pasek (@benjpasek) June 12, 2020
BREAKING: This transphobic administration is a despicable piece of shit and is targeting the most vulnerable group’s access to health care during a global pandemic. https://t.co/aK6MJBzFVX
— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) June 12, 2020
What does the new ruling mean for trans Americans?
In short, it means that if a trans patient is discriminated on the basis of their gender identity by a doctor, medical facility or their health insurer, there would be little protecting them.
The Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law often known as Obamacare, established broad civil rights protections in health care. It barred discrimination based on race, colour, national origin, sex, age or disability in health programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
In 2016, the Obama administration added gender identity to the list. But the rule was revised by Trump officials.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement saying the final rule is based on “the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”
“All of these are essentially legislative changes that the Department lacked the authority to make,” the administration said of the 2016 changes in the final rule.
“They purported to impose additional legal requirements on covered entities that cannot be justified by the text of Title IX, and in fact are in conflict with express exemptions in Title IX.”