Saturday, June 01, 2019

The Norm

Something I wrote seven years ago:

"Look, I realize that there will never be viral videos of normal people going to work, hanging out with their families, maybe serving in food pantries, supporting orphanages, teaching ESL classes to recent U.S. immigrants, taking care of the homeless. But this is my experience of the Christian life. This is what people I know do. In other words, gay-bashing, hateful pastors in North Carolina are not the norm. Are you listening, mainstream media? No, of course you're not."

It turns out, and oh, how it has turned out, that I was wrong. Gay-bashing, hateful pastors in North Carolina are, in fact, the norm. Trump can and obviously will
 engage in cynical propaganda. But there is nothing in this hopeful and almost grammatically correct tweet (let's ignore the strange capitalization of the word "Nation" and the bizarre use of ellipses at the end, shall we?) that will change the record of his first two-and-a-half years in office. To quote someone named Charlotte Clymer, who I do not know:

"➡️ "Before we even get to the worst stuff, Trump and Pence have gone out of their way to avoid acknowledging Pride Month. For the past two years, the White House has not formally recognized it. This year, for the first time, neither will the State Department.

➡️ Within hours of Trump's swearing-in, pages on LGBTQ rights and recognition were removed from government websites, including the White House.

➡️ Trump and Pence have sought to remove questions on sexual orientation from the 2020 census in order to erase LGBTQ people from official counts.

➡️ Despite being included since 2010, Trump and Pence attempted to have the Commerce Department remove sexual orientation and gender identity from their equal employment policy.

➡️ Against the expert advice of military leadership, medical authorities, budget analysts, the U.S. House, 70% of Americans, and the armed forces of allied countries, Trump and Pence banned transgender people from the military.

➡️ Trump and Pence ordered Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education to rescind non-discrimination protections for transgender students, against all expert advice of medical, legal, and policy professionals.

➡️ Under guidance of Trump and Pence, DeVos and the Department of Education then said it would reject civil rights complaints of transgender students.

➡️ DeVos has also refused to rule out federal funding for schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students and decline to state she would otherwise intervene should discriminate occur.

➡️ Trump and Pence have announced a proposal that would gut anti-discrimination protections for transgender patients in health care spaces, essentially permitting harm against trans patients, for no apparent reason.

➡️ If that somehow weren't enough, Trump and Pence have proposed a regulation that would directly enable medical professionals to deny ALL forms of care to LGBTQ patients solely based on the provider's personal beliefs. No joke.

➡️ On top of that, Trump and Pence have established a new office within HHS whose sole purpose would be to defend physicians and other medical professionals who refuse care to LGBTQ patients. This is all real. It's happening.

➡️ Trump and Pence have granted a federally-funded foster program to discriminate against families who are LGBTQ or whom do not identify as Christian. That includes Jews, Muslims, any other family not identifying as Christian.

➡️ In the fall, it was revealed that Trump and Pence are literally attempting to circulate a federal government-wide regulation that would essentially erase trans people from all existing protections and acknowledgment. Entirely.

➡️ Going into a dystopian space of parody, Trump and Pence ordered the Centers for Disease Control to stop using the word "transgender" in official reports in an effort to erase data dissemination on trans people:

➡️ Trump and Pence have proposed a rule that would eliminate data collection on LGBTQ foster youth and parents, erasing all official knowledge of the needs of LGBTQ children in these spaces.

➡️ Trump and Pence have specifically ordered questions on sexual orientation to be removed from surveys of programs that cater to the elderly and disabled, directly striking at older LGBTQ Americans and persons with disabilities.

➡️ Trump and Pence have ordered HUD and Ben Carson to remove the words "inclusive" and "free from discrimination" in HUD's official mission statement while scaling back enforcement of non-discrimination regulations. Again, this is happening:

➡️ Trump and Pence have also ordered HUD and Ben Carson to permit emergency shelters to deny access to transgender persons who are homeless. There is no need for this, but they've specifically made the order:

➡️ This comes two years after Trump and Pence ordered HUD to cancel a survey on LGBTQ homelessness:

➡️ Trump and Pence's Justice Department has literally filed a brief In the U.S. Court Of Appeals that argued federal civil rights laws do not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination -- I am not making this up:

➡️ Many of the policy proposals of the past two years have been built on this announcement from the Trump and Pence Justice Department specifically permitting individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on personal beliefs:

➡️ And Trump and Pence's Justice Department, in the midst of all this, still found time to specifically announce that the law does not bar discrimination against transgender people.

➡️ Trump and Pence have intentionally inserted themselves into defending businesses who openly discriminate against LGBTQ people.

➡️ Rejecting the evolving policy under Obama *and* Bush that sought to provide safe accommodations for transgender inmates, Trump and Pence are aggressively rolling back all protections for trans people in our prison system:

➡️ Within nine weeks of taking office, Trump and Pence, by executive order, rolled back non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ federal contractors.

➡️ Trump and Pence have ordered the State Department to deny visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats.

➡️ Just two weeks ago, Trump and Pence changed the rules specifically so the child of a same-sex couple born abroad via surrogate would be considered "born out of wedlock" and would not be granted U.S. citizenship.

➡️ Trump and Pence, over LGBTQ and other issues, removed the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

➡️ Trump and Pence then used this as an excuse to not sign a statement condemning attacks on LGBTQ people in Chechnya, where atrocities against queer people are horrific and ongoing:

➡️ Bizarrely, Trump and Pence ordered the USDA to remove a department policy specifically welcoming LGBTQ children in the 4-H program, which led to the firing of an official who protested:

➡️ If all this weren't horrific enough, Trump and Pence, with the assistance of McConnell, have worked overtime to pack the federal courts with judicial nominees who are brazenly anti-LGBTQ.

➡️ Last year, Trump and Pence's second SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh refused to answer straightforward questions during his confirmation process about LGBTQ case law, including the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage:

➡️ Under Trump and Pence, ICE has specifically mistreated LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers, including Roxsana Hernandez, a trans woman of color who died in their custody and whose death has not been given clarity:

➡️ Amid all of this, there is an epidemic of anti-trans violence, specifically against Black trans women, at least six of whom have been murdered this year, four of them in the past two weeks. Trump and Pence have said nothing:

Folks, what's ridiculous here is that I'm sure there are things I'm missing. There's too much this White House has specifically done against LGBTQ people. They are aggressively going after our community with everything they've got.

So, now you have a decent overview of the myriad ways in which Trump and Pence have systematically attempted to harm and erase LGBTQ people. Everything else is noise and propaganda.

These two hate us. And his bullshit tweet is a poor attempt at sleight-of-hand."

The Evangelical Christian Church has responded to this laundry list of despair with silence. Nada. They got nothin'. And silence and non-responsiveness in the face of grave existential threats IS the norm. I wish it was not, but it is. Pro-life? Not if the already living are anything other than white males. Certainly not if the already living are part of the LGBTQ community.

To my LGBTQ friends and relatives, I am sorry. I stand with you. And I am not going to be silent.

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