The Trump and Biden Administrations: A Tug-of-War Between Religious Freedoms and Queer Rights

The Trump and Biden Administrations: A Tug-of-War Between Religious Freedoms and Queer Rights

This article will current a complete evaluation of anti-LGBTQ insurance policies enacted underneath the Trump administration, Biden’s response to those homophobic and transphobic insurance policies and what the NWHN want to see subsequent.

The 1557 Rule

On June nineteenth, 2020, Trump finalized changes made to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The 1557 rule prohibits discrimination on the premise of race, colour, nationwide origin, intercourse, age, and incapacity in healthcare packages. Under the Trump Administration, sex-based protections have been restricted to an individual’s assigned intercourse at start. Roger Severino, former HHS Office for Civil Rights Director, explained reasoning for changing the rule: “When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform.”

The new rule allowed medical doctors to disclaim care to trandgender sufferers and interferes with a transgender particular person’s means to entry health insurance coverage. Mari Brighe, a contract author and transgender girl, commented on the new rule, “We (transgender individuals) stroll into any given health care scenario not understanding whether or not medical doctors are going to deal with us properly, whether or not we’ll get top quality care, whether or not any given, random health care particular person goes to be horrible to us.” The rule change disproportionately impacted Black trans individuals who not solely expertise transphobia when interacting with the healthcare system however systemic racism. To this level, Tia Sherèe Gaynor, a political science professor at University of Cincinnati, said, “it’s layers of oppression — it’s transphobia on top of racism on top of economic oppression.”

Roger Severino, former HHS Office for Civil Rights Director

Upon arriving in workplace, Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services underneath President Biden, expanded the interpretation of sex-based discrimination to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The rule will now defend queer and transgender people from discrimination when accessing healthcare. Meaning, a physician or insurance coverage supplier can’t deny care primarily based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender id. There is already vital quantity of mistrust between the LGBTQ+ neighborhood and the healthcare trade, so it can be crucial for the present president to repeatedly affirm queer health protections. 


Healthcare and Religious Freedoms

Protesters rally towards “religious freedom” legal guidelines in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of The Hill and Getty Images.

Former HHS Office of Civil Rights Director, Roger Severino, made it clear that his prime precedence because the Director of OCR was advancing religious freedoms. In May, 2019, Severino carried out a rule that will allow medical doctors or establishments similar to religiously-affiliated hospitals to disclaim care if it conflicted with their non secular beliefs. Under this rule medical doctors might deny companies similar to abortion, sterilization, hormone remedy or assisted suicide if they’ve relgious objection. Commenting on the aim of this rule, Severino said, “This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the healthcare field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life.” The United States structure makes it clear that non secular freedoms are vital and that the federal authorities has a vested curiosity in defending these freedoms. But for a lot of within the queer neighborhood, the phrase ‘religious freedoms’ is a dogwhistle utilized by savvy politicians who don’t wish to seem bigoted for limiting LGBTQ rights. 


To counteract the overwhelming anti-LGBTQ sentiment that saturated govt insurance policies underneath the Trump Administration, Biden is committed to having essentially the most various cupboard in historical past. Biden appointed former Mayor of Southbend, Indiana, and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be the Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg made historical past, when he grew to become the primary openly-gay particular person to win electoral votes as a major-party presidential candidate. Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of Health, grew to become the primary brazenly trans federal officer to be confirmed by the senate. Levine is the present assistant secretary for health within the Department of Health and Human Services. On Levine’s Confirmation Biden said, “[Levine] will carry the regular management and important experience we have to get individuals via this pandemic — regardless of their ZIP code, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender id or incapacity — and meet the general public health wants of our nation on this important second and past.” Biden additionally nominated Shawn Skelly, who’s transgender, to be the assistant secretary of protection readiness, Sue Felton, a lesbian, to be the assistant secretary of protection for manpower and reserve affairs, and Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian, to develop into the subsequent undersecretary of the Air Force. 


Transgender Military Ban

TIMES SQUARE NYC, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2017/07/26: On July 26, 2017, after a sequence of tweets by President Donald Trump, which proposed to ban transgender individuals from army service, hundreds of New Yorkers took the streets of in opposition. Thousands of transgender troopers are at the moment serving in all branches of the United States Armed forces. (Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket through Getty Images)

In April of 2019, Trump implemented a transgeder military ban that successfully prohibited individuals who modified their assigned intercourse at start to a different intercourse from enlisting within the armed forces. According to BuzzFeed News, present active-duty service members couldn’t be kicked out of the armed forces as a result of grandfather clause. The ban additionally penalized active-duty service members, “who appear or act transgender by failing to meet the grooming, uniform and other military standards from their biological sex.” The Pentagon defended its enforcement of trasngender army ban by claiming that trasngender individuals had a “deficiency”. This declare was rebuked by the American Medical Association in an official statement: “The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender service members should, as is the case with all personnel, receive the medical care they need. There is a global medical consensus about the efficacy of transgender health care, including treatment for gender dysphoria.”


In January, Biden repealed the transgender army ban. The executive order states: “It is my conviction as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that gender id shouldn’t be a bar to army service. Moreover, there’s substantial proof that permitting transgender people to serve within the army doesn’t have any significant damaging affect on the Armed Forces.” The new Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs additionally introduced that the division is shifting to incorporate gender affirmation surgical procedure via its health-care protection. The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that there are roughly 134,000 transgender veterans and 4,000 veterans would be interested in this surgery.


1964 Civil Rights Act 

Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin had a big half within the authentic passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. LGBT individuals in the present day are protected by this act regardless of current rollback efforts.

In 2019, the Trump Administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that LGBTQ employees weren’t protected underneath the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco and different Department of Justice attorneys claimed the 1964 Civil Rights Act supplies protections on the premise of race, colour, relgion, intercourse and nationwide origin however doesn’t specify protections for sexual orientation. They argued that sex-based discrimination is particular to an individual’s organic intercourse, assigned at start. Under the Trump-era interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, an employer might discriminate towards a queer or transgender particular person. Ultimately, in a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court concluded that intercourse discrimination, as outlined within the 1964 Civil Rights Act, may be prolonged to sexual orientation and gender id. 


Biden reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s determination in an govt order. The executive order states: “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love… All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” The govt order empowers federal agencies to to enforce federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the premise of sexual orientation and gender id. These protections prolong to housing, employment, training, housing, health care, and credit score. 


Moving Forward

Photo Credit…Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

As evidenced by the roundup detailed above, Biden has repeatedly affirmed his help for the LGBTQ+ neighborhood all through his first six months in workplace.  But – the LGBTQ+ neighborhood not solely desires to get well the rights they misplaced underneath the Trump Administration, however to forge new, extra everlasting protections shifting ahead. The NWHN believes lawmakers and the Biden administration have to take 3 essential steps in the direction of defending LGBTQ+ rights:

1. First, the senate must move the Equality Act, a invoice that will prohibit discrimination on the premise on sexual orientation or gender id. 150+ grassroots organizations have introduced their help for the Equality Act, and nationwide organizations just like the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans have amplified calls to move the invoice on social media.

2. Second, Biden must fulfill his promise and defend LGBTQ+ {couples} from being discriminated towards by federally funded foster businesses. In June, 2021, the Supreme Court dominated in favor of a Catholic foster company that refused to work with same-sex {couples}. As a spiritual non-profit group, the Supreme Court determined that the company was inside their First Amendment rights to disclaim service, however the Biden administration might prohibit non-religious, federally funded foster businesses from discriminating towards LGBTQ+ {couples}.

3. Third, Biden wants to finish discriminatory legal guidelines that prohibit LGBTQ+ people from donating blood. Organizations similar to GLAAD and the HRC are devoted to seeing the FDA raise pointless blood donation restrictions on the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. In April, 2020, the FDA changed the deferral period for men who have sex with men from 12 months to three months. The struggle towards LGBTQ+ discrimination is ongoing, and doesn’t finish with the conclusion of Pride Month. The LGBTQ+ neighborhood experiences discrimination 12 months a 12 months, and due to this fact, policymakers want to deal with these points all 12 months. 

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