US: GLAAD President Calls out AG Jeff Sessions and US Department of Justice

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, on Friday (27th October) denounced the US Department of Justice for requesting time in front of the US Supreme Court to argue on the side of the LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom during the upcoming oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

“The Department of Justice is locking arms with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a known anti-LGBTQ hate group, to advance the radical claim in front of our nation’s highest Court that there is a Constitutional right to discriminate. This is not normal or representative of the will of the American people, but it is what we have come to expect from members of Trump’s inner circle. Attorney General Sessions took an oath to protect the rights and freedoms of all Americans, but instead uses his bully pulpit to attack LGBTQ people at every turn in ways that will harm hardworking LGBTQ families.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Trump Administration’s Anti-LGBTQ Record

  • 10.25.17 – The Department of Justice requested time during oral in front of the Supreme Court of the United States to argue on the side of the LGBTQ hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom, in oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
  • 10.16.17 – In a profile on Vice President Mike Pence that ran in the New Yorker, President Trump reportedly joked of Pence when asked about LGBTQ rights: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
  • 10.13.17 – President Trump becomes the first sitting president to speak at the Family Research Council‘s Values Voter Summit, a convening of fringe groups united around discrimination against LGBTQ people.
  • 10.11.17 – The Trump Administration’s National Park Services withdrew its sponsorship of New York City’s first permanent Pride Flag, located outside of the historic Stonewall Inn, and dropped out of its pre-scheduled participation in the flag dedication ceremony.
  • 10.6.17– The Department of Justice issues a sweeping “religious exemptions” guidance which invites taxpayer-funded federal agencies, government employees, and government contractors to legally discriminate against LGBTQ employees as long as they cite a religious belief as the reason for doing it.
  • 10.6.17 – The Department of Health and Human Services rolls back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, allowing the use of “religious exemptions” to deny health care to women, trans men, and gender non-conforming people who rely on the no-copay contraception benefit.
  • 10.5.17 – In a Department of Justice memo, the Trump Administration reverses a policy that provided non-discrimination protections for transgender people in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • 10.3.17 – The Department of Health and Human Services erases all mentions of the LGBTQ community and their health needs in its strategic plan for the fiscal year 2018-2022.
  • 9.22.17 – The Education Department rescinds the Obama Administration-era Title IX guidance on investigating campus sexual assault; LGBTQ students experience sexual harassment at disproportionately high rates.
  • 9.8.17 – Reporting reveals the CIA canceled a planned speech about diversity and LGBTQ rights set to be given by Judy and Dennis Shepard, founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
  • 9.7.17 – The Justice Department files an amicus brief in support of so-called “religious exemptions” to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.
  • 9.7.17 – The Education Department announces they will roll back Obama Administration-era Title IX guidelines which protected sexual assault survivors on college and university campuses.
  • 9.5.17 – President Trump ends the DACA program, which protected an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, including 36,000 LGBTQ DREAMers, from detention and deportation.
  • 8.27.17 – Reporting reveals the CIA consulted with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
  • 8.25.17 – President Trump officially directs the Pentagon to move forward with his ban on transgender service members openly serving in the U.S. Military. The discriminatory policy is due to take effect take effect March 23, 2018.
  • 8.25.17 – President Trump pardons former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a criminal known for terrorizing the Latinx community with inmate abuses, unjustified arrests, and racial profiling.
  • 8.12.17 – President Trump refused to condemn white supremacists who chanted violently racist and anti-LGBTQ slogans during a rally in Charlottesville, VA.
  • 7.26.17 – An official White House webpage directs readers to an article published by the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation that calls being transgender a “psychological disorder.”
  • 7.26.17 – The Justice Department files a brief opposing workplace nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the case Zarda v. Altitude Express.
  • 7.26.17 – President Trump bans transgender service members from serving in “any capacity” in the U.S. military, threatening to fire 15,000 currently serving troops over Twitter.
  • 7.25.17 – Reporting reveals Vice President Mike Pence advocated for the removal of healthcare benefits for transgender service members within the U.S. military behind closed doors.
  • 7.12.17 – President Trump grants a one-on-one interview with Pat Robertson, a longtime anti-LGBTQ activist and Televangelist.
  • 7.10.17 – In a closed-door and unannounced opportunity, President Trump poses for a photograph with notorious anti-LGBTQ activists who wish to promote so-called “religious exemptions” that would harm LGBTQ Americans across the nation.
  • 6.29.17 – Reports revealed President Trump hired anti-transgender activist, Bethany Kozma, to the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights at the US Agency for International Development.
  • 6.28.17 – The Department of Justice ejected reporters covering a DOJ Pride event hosted by LGBTQ affinity groups for federal workers.
  • 6.27.17 – The Trump Administration failed to mention the LGBTQ community in their National HIV Testing Day statement.
  • 6.21.17 – Reporting reveals President Trump hired a lawyer who openly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-LGBTQ law banning so-called “gay propaganda” from Russia, a law that Europe’s top human rights court found to be illegal.
  • 6.17.17 – Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned saying that President Trump “simply does not care” about combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
  • 6.16.17 – An obtained internal memo from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights reveals guidelines to dismiss complaints about bathroom access filed by transgender students.
  • 6.15.17 – Department of Commerce removes sexual orientation and gender identity from the agency’s Equal Employment Policy; LGBTQ protections have been explicitly included since 2010. Only after fierce opposition did Department of Commerce Secretary Ross change it back.
  • 6.15.17 – The Department of Education invites Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two anti-LGBTQ organizations, to be speakers for a day-long conference on engaging fathers in their children’s education and welfare.
  • 6.15.17 – The Department of Education rolls back the Office for Civil Rights’ expansive approach to investigating civil rights complaints that to protect LGBTQ students, and other marginalized communities, from discrimination at school.
  • 6.1.17 – President Trump declines to issue a presidential proclamation designating June as LGBTQ Pride Month, breaking with an eight-year precedent set by President Barack Obama to honor and support LGBTQ Americans during Pride Month.
  • 5.23.17 – The Trump Administration reveals their budget which includes proposed slashes to programs and departments critical to the LGBTQ community, including Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Disease Control’s HIV and AIDS programs.
  • 5.22.17 – The Trump Administration grants White House press credentials to a “reporter” from Infowars, a conspiracy outlet that regularly peddles dangerous, offensive and anti-LGBTQ content.
  • 5.8.17 – Department of Agriculture issues new so-called “religious freedom” policy statement, a move praised by the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.
  • 5.4.17 – President Trump signs a “religious liberty” executive order. Although this EO does not target LGBTQ Americans, it is the first step in what could be a more broader permission slip for discrimination against the overall LGBTQ community.
  • 4.14.17 – The Trump Administration files to dismiss a lawsuit accusing North Carolina of discriminating against the LGBTQ community in response to HB2, despite the similarities of the HB142 replacement.
  • 4.10.17: A ProPublica investigation reveals the Trump Administration appointed James Renne, a key staffer involved in the Bush-era anti-LGBTQ purge of gay government employees, to a senior role at the Department of Agriculture.
  • 3.28.17: The Trump Administration cancels plans to add the LGBTQ community to its upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, a survey conducted every decade by the federal government to help collect data about living Americans and the United States of America.
  • 3.28.17: Under his proposed budget for the U.S. Congress, The Trump Administration offered to cut HIV and AIDS research funding under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • 3.24.17: President Trump appointed anti-LGBTQ activist and former Heritage Foundation employee Roger Severino to lead the Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office, putting the LGBTQ community at risk of losing access to critical and affordable health care.
  • 3.20.17: Trump Administration erases the LGBTQ community from The National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants and the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living, key surveys that are used to help provide care to American seniors – including disability, transportation, and caregiver support needs.
  • 2.22.17 – With help of Attorney General Sessions, President Trump rescinded Title IX protections for transgender students in our nation’s schools.
  • 2.02.17: ABC News reports that after previously committing to protecting LGBTQ Americans from discrimination, President Trump and his administration had drafted a “License to Discriminate” executive order which would usher in across-the-board discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
  • 1.27.17: President Donald Trump issued an executive order to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States. This ban includes LGBTQ refugees fleeing the nation in fear of discrimination.
  • 1.20.17: Minutes after Donald Trump was sworn into office, any mention of the LGBTQ community were erased from White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor websites.

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