The Trump Administration has not only fostered but encouraged an anti-LBGTQIA culture in America.
The National Center for Transgender Equality (“Center”) actually calls the Trump Administration “The Discrimination Administration.” The Center lists what it calls on “onslaught” of more than 60 anti-LBGTQ policies either implemented or attempted at implementation during the first three years of the Trump Administration.
In fact, in May 2019 the Trump Administration formally announced its opposition to the Equality Act—federal legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity bias to federal civil rights laws that would prevent discrimination against the LBGTQ community.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the national LBGTQ advocacy group GLAAD said this kind of opposition cements the Trump Administration’s “legacy of being the most anti-LBGTQ government in recent memory.”
Hate and Bigotry Trickle Down
The anti-LBGTQ attitude of the “Discrimination Administration” has filtered down to mostly Republican-controlled state legislatures resulting in at least 129 anti-LBGTQ bills being introduced across the country in 2017 alone.
Earlier this year Equality Texas CEO Chuck Smith warned that despite the 2018 losses of most of the Lone Star State’s staunchest anti-LBGTG lawmakers, there will be religious bills pushed by other lawmakers that will allow discrimination against the LBGTQ community.
This politically conservative and far-right evangelical war against the LBGTQ community has contributed to a climate of violence against sexual orientation and gender identity.
Hate Crimes Against LBGTQ Increase
USA TODAY reported in June 2019 that “hate crimes” against the LBGTQ community has increased over the past three years—what could be called the “Trump Effect.” This rise in hate crimes against the LBGTQ community turned exceedingly violent in Texas, especially in Dallas.
Dee Dee Watters, a black transgender activist and president of Black Trans Women Inc. was quoted in the USA TODAY piece as saying:
“We were en route back to Houston [from the funeral of Muhlaysia Booker], and we got word that there was a young lady that they fished out of the lake in Dallas. We weren’t even able to complete the mourning of the loss of this young lady – then to get hit with another individual that was murdered.”
Another black transgender activist in the Dallas area—Naomi Green with Abounding Prosperity, Inc., a group that supports the Dallas LBGTQ community—told USA TODAY that she has taken up gun-shooting classes and is organizing self-defense classes in the city.
Grace Hauck, the writer of the expansive USA TODAY piece, made these observations:
“For some black trans women, daily experiences of bias are not unusual. Kaye Ingram, 29, moved to Dallas in 2016 but was rejected from various jobs for many months. She stayed with friends until she was finally able to secure housing through a program in Dallas – an apartment in the same neighborhood where Muhlaysia Booker was killed.
“Last year, Ingram was leaving a convenience store in her neighborhood when a man hurled slurs at her, then punched her in the eye.
“‘I remember the trauma of actually being hit and having slurs thrown on you as people watch and … laugh,’ Ingram said. ‘When I saw the Muhlaysia story, that just made me remember how I felt in that moment – how afraid I was. I don’t have any family here, and I was afraid to retaliate because it’s an open carry state.’
“Ingram told USA TODAY that she has been targeted based on her gender identity several times in the past two years: a co-worker verbally degraded her, a man yelling from his balcony called her ‘an abomination,’ and boys riding by on bikes threw rocks at her. She said that she has been raped three times.”
Sexual Assault, Hate Crimes and Murder Rates on Rise
The Center informed USA TODAY that nearly half of the transgender community will experience a sexual assault during their lifetime, a percentage that increases among people of color.
In 2018, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs issued its 2017 “Crisis of Hate” report that found homicides of LBGTQ people increased by a staggering 400 percent during the Trump Administration’s first year in office.
In April 2019, the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, found that more than 10,000 hate crimes each year involve a firearm with one-fifth of those directed against sexual orientation or gender identity bias.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s website posted this warning:
“Anti-LGBT groups [all of whom are supported by the Trump Administration] primarily consist of Christian Right groups but also include organizations like National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) that purport to be scientific. Anti-LGBT groups in America have employed a variety of strategies in their efforts to oppose LGBT rights, including defamation. Many leaders and spokespeople of anti-LGBT groups have engaged in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as ‘perverts’ with ‘filthy habits’ who seek to ‘convert’ or ‘recruit’ the children of straight parents into a ‘homosexual lifestyle.’
“Others link homosexuality to pedophilia and claim that LGBT people are threats to home and society. Others disseminate disparaging ‘facts’ about LGBT people that are simply untrue — an approach no different to how white supremacists and nativist extremists propagate lies about black people and immigrants to make these communities seem like a danger to society.
“More recently, hardline anti-LGBT groups have promoted ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious liberty’ legislation and legal challenges to justify anti-gay discrimination.”
These far-right religious views, which have found a cozy place in the White House, are rooted in the same kind of white nationalism racial hatred advocated by the likes of Trump’s senior political advisor Stephen Miller—views of hatred that inevitably spawn violence, particularly against the LBGTQ community.
The Discrimination Administration will not support the Equality Act—and because it will not, and because of its anti-LGBT policies and rhetoric, the LBGTQIA communities across the country will be increasing targets of sexual orientation and gender identity bias crimes of violence.
That’s a tragedy we all bear some responsibility.