The Trump administration made another horrific attack just days after its seditionist supporters ransacked the U.S. Capitol on Thursday by announcing a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule “that will permit social service agencies and providers that receive HHS grant funding to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as religion and sex,” Lambda Legal said.
Should the rule take place as scheduled on Feb. 11, the legal organization said the “eleventh hour” attack will be far-reaching, affecting HHS-supported social services ranging from foster care to HIV prevention services to programs for unhoused seniors, adults, and children. “HHS is charged with protecting the health and wellbeing of all people,” Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project Director M. Currey Cook said, “but its actions today demonstrate once again its complete disregard for its mission.”
“The rule announced Thursday is just the latest in a series of regulatory changes by HHS that target LGBTQ people and people living with HIV, as well as other vulnerable and marginalized communities,” Lambda Legal said. So the fact that Republicans have continued to tout the outgoing administration as pro-LGBTQ would be laughable if it weren’t so horrific. In just one example this past fall, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ignored internal protests from his own department employees in order to address a right-wing religious organization that supports so-called “ex-gay” therapy, the Miami Herald said.
That report said that Pompeo’s speech to the Florida Family Policy Council, a group also affiliated with several other anti-LGBTQ organizations, was covered in red flags, including staffers finding links to conversion therapy—which is torture—on the group’s site, as well as anti-gay flyers at the location where the speech was to take place. But Mike just didn’t care.
The Trump administration is making a deliberate decision to continue this anti-gay animus as it’s just days away from going out of power—and when the incoming Biden administration has already made clear it will begin reversing Trump administration policies right away. Trump loyalists have already admitted they’ve enacted changes with the goal of just making things harder for Biden. Advocates from Lambda Legal urge the new administration to stay the course.
“We call on the Biden-Harris administration to address discriminatory policies such as these immediately, and commit to eliminating them root and branch,” Lambda Legal senior attorney Sasha Buchert said. “But in the meantime, Lambda Legal is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to protect the LGBTQ community from harm.”
“With this rule, the Trump administration and HHS continue their no-holds-barred and comprehensive assault on the health and well-being of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, as well as on women, religious minorities, and limited English speakers,” Buchert said. “Even as Trump administration officials abandon ship, HHS has announced yet another dangerous rule that invites discrimination against the very people federal grant programs are meant to help.”