Trump’s Broken Promises: LGBTQ People

On a week that began with the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on whether to take away employment protections for LGBGTQ people and ending on National Coming Out Day, it’s time to revisit some of the most vicious attacks against LGBTQ people under the Trump administration.


1. LGBTQ students continue to be bullied in school. A shockingly high proportion of LGBTQ-related complaints filed with the Department of Education — 77% — alleged harassment. The Trump administration rescinded guidance to schools on protecting transgender students, reneging on his pledge for people to have access to facilities in accordance to their gender identity. The least the federal government can do is investigate their complaints to make sure their civil rights aren’t being violated — they aren’t even doing that.

2. A same-sex couple in El Paso should not have to drive 348 miles to find a welcoming adoption agency. At a time when thousands of children age out of the child welfare system without finding a forever home every year, the Trump administration wants to make it even harder for loving parents to start a family.

  • With nearly half a million children in foster care nationwide, it makes no sense to turn away otherwise qualified prospective parents. The Trump administration is planning to do exactly that, by making it easier for agencies to reject same-sex couples.
  • Discrimination comes at a significant price. By welcoming all families and moving even a fraction of children out of the child welfare system and into their forever homes could save $230 million of taxpayer money.

3. Many of us put off going to see the doctor, but for LGBTQ patients, one of the reasons for avoiding their doctor’s office is fear of discrimination. An estimated 8% of all LGBTQ people avoided or postponed needed medical care because of disrespect or discrimination from health care staff. Among transgender people, 22% reported such avoidance. Rather than increasing health care access for patients and helping providers better serve their clients, the Trump administration has proposed to create a license to discriminate.

  • Some transgender patients experience “Transgender Broken Arm Syndrome — the phenomenon of their doctor suddenly forgetting their medical training on how to treat a broken arm because the patient in front of them happens to be transgender. A CAP analysis of a set of HHS complaint records found that most complaints asserted mistreatment, inadequate care, denials of care or coverage unrelated to gender transition, or other forms of discrimination. Only a quarter of complaints involved denials of transition care or insurance for transgender patients.
  • Finding another doctor is not an answer for all LGBTQ patients, particularly those living in rural areas. 41% of nonmetro LGBTQ people said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find the same type of service at a different hospital if they were turned away.

4. Some of the Trump administration’s attacks on LGBTQ rights have gone unnoticed, but there has been nothing subtle about his record on housing discrimination. After appointing the outrageously transphobic Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency tried to remove anti-discrimination from its mission statement. Then, just one day after promising Congress that he would protect LGBTQ people’s access to shelters, the Secretary proposed to gut those very protections.

  • Carson’s proposed rule would make it even harder for LGBTQ people seeking emergency shelter to find a safe place to stay. Transgender people are particularly vulnerable — a CAP study found that only 30% of homeless shelters were willing to properly accommodate transgender women.
  • Some shelter employees turned away transgender women, claiming that it risked the safety of cisgender women. The transgender predator myth has been used to justify refusing access to public accommodations for transgender women, even though there is no evidence to support this claim.

5. Even in 2019, workplace discrimination can prevent LGBTQ workers from being hired or promoted. It should hardly be surprising that a third of LGBTQ people reported hiding a personal relationship to avoid experiencing discrimination. Not only did the Trump administration go back on a promise to protect LGBTQ federal contractors, Trump’s Department of Justice filed a brief in a Supreme Court case arguing that it should be legal to fire LGBTQ workers simply for being who they are.

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