“Thank you” to the LGBT community?

Photo by Christopher Skor on Unsplash

In three cruel tweets, the commander-in-chief of the United States military declared he was banishing transgender individuals from service.

On the same day, the Department of Justice filed court papers arguing that Title VII, which prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of an “individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” does not protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Title VII is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency with responsibility to enforce Title VII, had filed a brief in support of Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who was fired after he told a woman customer that he was gay. The Justice Department claimed the EEOC was “not speaking for the United States.”

Trump’s decision to bar transgender individuals from serving in the US military appears to be unexpected, as the Pentagon deferred all questions to the White House.

This has jeopardised the lives of people like Eli, whose service in the United States Air Force is now in question because of these tweets from Donald Trump.

And Republican senator John McCain, who has served in the US military and now chairs the Senate Armed Service Committee and quickly defended transgender service members: “We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are.” He had returned to the Senate to push through a vote to debate health care legislation after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

These cruel, regressive actions took place on the same day under the administration of a president who had, during his campaign a year ago, tweeted his pledge to support to the LGBT community.

If this were any other person, I would say he has a funny way of showing it.

But no part of Trump’s actions shocked me; I do not believe that a man who would make lewd, degrading remarks about women — and still be elected — would have the sensitivity to appreciate the difficulties and plights plaguing the LGBT communities. His history of chronic lying — and baby-like dodging when presented with the truth — means his lack of sincerity a year ago should come as no surprise to anyone.

But — among the many terrible things about this regression for LGBT equality — the announcement appears to be a desperate political maneuverer by Donald Trump to distract from the failures of the Republican-majority Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite it being a specific Republican Party promise; and the ongoing investigations into his campaign’s collusion with the Russian government to influence the US presidential election.

It yet again demonstrates the depravity and self-centredness that defines Donald Trump: his willingness to harm the lives of millions of Americans for his own, selfish, political gain.

A man who sacrifices the people he governs for personal gain is not a democratic leader, but an authoritarian dictator.

Is this really the person you want to be President of the land of the free and the home of the brave?