In another move that demonstrates the powerful influence of the religious right on its policies, the Trump administration is ditching Obama-era actions aimed at protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.
In recent months, there have been a multitude of actions that contradict Trump's many 2016 campaign promises to support LGBT causes. Tweeted Trump in June 2016, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."
However, as usual in this era of Donald Trump, actions speak louder than words. Much louder.
According to this article from Politico, "The nation's health department is taking steps to dismantle LGBT health initiatives, as political appointees have halted or rolled back regulations intended to protect LGBT workers and patients, removed LGBT-friendly language from documents and reassigned the senior adviser dedicated to LGBT health."
The article points out that "the sharp reversal from Obama-era policies carries implications for a population that's been historically vulnerable to discrimination in health care settings, say LGBT health advocates. A Health Affairs study last year found that many LGBT individuals have less access to care than heterosexuals; in a Harvard-Robert Wood Johnson-NPR survey one in six LGBT individuals reported experiencing discrimination from doctors or at a clinic."
Trump wasted no time in pandering to the anti-LGBT religious right, led in his administration by Vice President Mike Pence. Soon after Trump took office, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) moved to change the agency's LGBT-related health data collection, which provides information about health status and discrimination.
Then, last month HHS established a new religious liberty division to defend health workers who have religious objections to treating LGBT patients, a move that has drawn sharp criticism from LGBT advocates.
Politico quoted Kellan Baker, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health who worked with HHS on LGBT issues for nearly a decade, who said “It’s only a matter of time before all the gains made under the Obama administration are reversed under the Trump administration, for purposes that have nothing to do with public health and have everything to do with politics.”
Meanwhile, Trump's proposed federal budget for 2019 proposes cutting millions of dollars for programs helping to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in the U.S. The reductions included cutting $40 million from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and $26 million from the federal housing program for people living with AIDS, among other cuts, according to nonprofit advocacy group The AIDS Institute.
If Trump doesn't care about LGBT individuals facing discriminatory practices, does he not realize the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the fact that advances in medical research have made great strides in managing that horrific disease. Does he want to turn the clock back on that as well?
I guess that's just another way he's Making America Great Again.