Trump Administration's History of LGBT Discrimination

 Illustration by Daniel Martinez

Illustration by Daniel Martinez

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is not a choice, despite what Vice President Mike Pence believes, and he is not alone. President Trump and his cabinet are notoriously anti-LGBT, Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular. 

Not even a day after President Trump and Vice President Pence were sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2017, all information on LGBT+ community was erased from the White House, Department of State and Department of Labor websites. About a month later, the Trump Administration rescinded Title IX protections for transgender students.

This past summer, the Trump Administration broke an eight-year precedent set by former President Barack Obama by choosing not to designate the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. Later in July, Trump announced plans to ban transgender recruits from serving at any level in the military; the Trump Administration attempted to go through with this policy until a federal judge temporarily blocked the ban on Oct. 30, 2017.

Another huge controversy unfolded on Oct. 16, 2017, when President Trump appeared to mock Vice President Pence when the topic of LGBT rights came up in an interview. Trump jokingly told the reporter not to question Pence on the subject, saying “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all.”

In addition, attorney general Jeff Sessions has gone on record referring to homosexuality as “gay tendencies.” He also voted against the repeal of the military’s infamous "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policc y and cosponsored the State Marriage Defense Act, a bill designed to circumvent federal protections for same-sex couples, as well the First Amendment Defense Act, which would opponents of marriage equality to discriminate against LGBT customers and contractors.

Finally, we get to Mike Pence. As the governor of Indiana, he signed a so-called a “religious freedom” bill that allowed business owners the right to refuse service to LGBT customers on March 26, 2015. After outcry and boycotts, however, Pence was forced to sign an amended version that made it clear that the law could not be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Also, when Pence first ran for Congress, he wanted to take money from programs that helped people sick with the HIV virus and use the federal dollars to institutions who practiced conversion therapy, according to GLAAD's profile on Pence.

Conversion therapy is basically inhumane practices to force people in the LGBT community to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to GoodTherpay.org conversion therapy, "typically encourages people to change or conceal who they are, convincing them that their sexual orientation or gender expression is a source of shame and danger." The American Association of Pediatrics states some of the negative impacts of conversion therapy include: depression, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, social anxiety, altered body image, and other mental health issues. Given that conversion therapy promotes shame, it is important to have safe places away from such barbaric practices.

The Santa Monica College community takes pride in being a safe and accepting environment. “At Santa Monica College, we are committed to helping all students fulfill their life’s dreams and aspirations. The college will continue to provide a safe environment for all students and personnel, including safe zone trainings for staff and faculty,” said President Kathryn Jeffery. “SMC is working to implement a Gender Equity and Social Justice Resource Center to provide support on issues that cover a range of social and political areas from gender equity issues, racism, housing and food insecurities, and more. This effort has the support of the SMC Associated Students and the SMC District Planning and Advisory Council.”

Although SMC is a safe space for LGBT individuals, the road forward will not be an easy one. In the following years individuals in the LGBT community must remain vigilant so that their rights are not infringed upon, nor taken away. Although remaining vigilant is important, individuals must remain to have faith in the judicial branch of US Government because the courts will help protect individuals rights from being infringed upon. Justice will be served, no matter what.

The people in charge do not speak for the country as a whole. President Trump, Vice President Pence, and AG Sessions are only the people in power. Unfortunately, with their actions it has given more evidence in the LGBT community that people will hated for existing. Progress is never a straight line and the LGBT community should and will never be silenced for being who they are.