President Trump declined to declare June a National LGBT Pride Month, for the first time in eight years. Although he has made no statement about the decision, anti-LGBT actions have become more explicit in the federal government and nationwide. Language protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination has been removed from a government website. And although Trump has only signed one official measure that’s anti-LGBT, more than 100 bills considered anti-LGBT have been introduced in 29 states in the five months since he took office.
In its equal opportunity employment statement, the Commerce Department has removed sexual orientation and gender identity from its list of protected categories, BuzzFeed reported this week.
The statement reads, “The Department of Commerce does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”
New York Magazine points out that statements in 2016 and 2014 included a wider variety of protections, and even the 2010 statement read:
The Department of Commerce does not tolerate discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age (40 years of age and over), genetic information or disability (physical or mental), including the provision of reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities.
The White House and the Department of Commerce have not commented on the change.
Meanwhile, USA Today reports that nationwide, a “blitz” of 100 bills that are anti-LGBT have been introduced in statehouses in the five months since Trump took office — nearly five times the 220 introduced in all of 2016. Six have passed into law so far; four were legalized last year.
“We were heading in the right direction,” said Alex Sheldon, a research analyst for the Movement Advancement Project. “Now, there’s definitely been a shift. States are really going after the most vulnerable people. We are playing defense.”
Lawmakers may feel emboldened by the anti-LGBT policies espoused by Vice President Mike Pence, who has officially opposed same-sex marriage, LGBT anti-discrimination laws and, according to one of his congressional campaign websites, “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Last week, both Trump and Pence addressed Road to Majority, a gathering of evangelicals hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an organization which officially opposes same-sex marriage. The conference’s 21 scheduled speakers include Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Paul Ryan and evangelical author James Dobson, all of whom have expressed anti-gay views.