‘Death by a thousand cuts’: LGBT rights fading under Trump, advocates say

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/30/lgbt-rights-under-trump

Activists reject Trump’s claims to be a supporter as they point to overturned protections and a dropped US census plan to count LGBT Americans in 2020

in Washington
Thursday 30 March 2017

Gay rights advocates are sounding the alarm over what they say is a quiet campaign being waged by Donald Trump’s administration to chip away at hard-fought protections for LGBT Americans.

While the White House has insisted Trump is a vocal supporter of the LGBT community, breaking from previous Republican presidents, advocacy groups were left questioning that commitment following a series of recent actions dubbed by one gay rights lawyer as “death by a thousand cuts”.

The latest missive arrived on Wednesday, when the US Census Bureau said a proposal to count LGBT Americans in its 2020 report and annual survey had been a mistake. The agency said it had “inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic”. Last week, the Trump administration deleted questions on sexual orientation from at least two other government surveys.

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said the move was a deliberate effort by the Trump administration “to erase LGBTQ people from federal data used to inform budgets and policies across the government”.

“Their intent is clear,” Griffin said in a statement. “By denying we exist, the Trump administration hopes to deny us equality. It won’t work.”

The HRC said it had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Commerce in response to find out who directed the change at the Census Bureau and why.

Separately, Trump signed into law on Monday a bill overturning a Barack Obama executive order that required companies seeking contracts with the federal government to show compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws.

Obama’s so-called “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” order sought to shield workers from violations of a range of labor and safety laws, not just those affecting LGBT individuals. But it was rolled out in tandem with another Obama-era executive action that barred discrimination against federal workers specifically on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sharon McGowan, the director of strategy at Lambda Legal, the country’s oldest and largest LGBT legal organization, said the Trump administration was sending a signal that non-discrimination was not at the forefront of its approach.

“They are going to try and chip and erode away the rights we’ve seen over the last few years, but in these back-channel ways that may not be as obvious,” she said.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/30/lgbt-rights-under-trump

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