The results of the 2020 presidential election are important for all Americans, but they’re vital for LGBTQ people and their allies.
Since taking office in 2017, Trump’s administration has taken away countless rights and protections for trans people. In addition, Vice President Mike Pence has a long record of anti-LGBTQ lawmaking and has publicly condemned marriage equality.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, has come out as an LGBTQ ally. He supports reinstating protections for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness, ending violence against transgender women of color and ending exemptions in anti-discrimination laws. His running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, is also a champion for LGBTQ rights, with a history of officiating same-sex marriages as early as 2004.
According to an October 6th poll, Biden leads Trump 57% to 41%. Voter participation is also expected to reach record highs this election—but nothing is sure. If LGBTQ people and their allies want to regain the rights they’ve lost under President Trump and protect their rights going forward, they must vote.
If you need more convincing, here are 5 things LGBTQ people could lose if Trump gets reelected in 2020.
1. A Balanced Supreme Court
Following Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on September 18, Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace the late justice.
Barrett is a devout Catholic whose religious beliefs are apparent in her past rulings. Democratic senators and liberal advocates are concerned that Barrett could roll back abortion rights and invalidate the Affordable Care Act if appointed to the Supreme Court.
Barrett has also been criticized for her views on LGBTQ rights. She’s referred to transgender women as “physiological males” and has made public statements against same-sex marriage. In a 2016 lecture, she defended opponents of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court ruling which made marriage equality federal law.
Having Barrett on the bench would also tilt the right-leaning court to a 6-3 conservative majority. This would give conservative justices nearly unchecked power when it comes to ruling on the legal protections LGBTQ people currently have, including marriage equality, healthcare coverage and discrimination protections.
While Trump and the Republican-led Senate may succeed in appointment Barrett before the election, ousting Trump would be a sure-fire way to maintain balance in the Supreme Court if the nomination doesn’t go through.
2. The Ability To Serve In The Military
During the Obama administration, transgender service members were given the freedom to serve without fear of discharge. They were also given medical care for gender transition. Finally, Obama’s policy allowed military personnel diagnosed with gender dysphoria to serve according to their true gender identity.
In July 2017, just months after arriving in office, Trump reversed the decision, tweeting “our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Trump’s administration insists it’s not a “ban” because active duty transgender individuals may continue serving in their true gender, receiving hormone treatments and having gender-affirming surgery.
However, under the new policy, individuals with gender dysphoria taking hormones, or anyone who’s undergone a gender transition, cannot enlist. Furthermore, any active duty troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria must serve in their assigned sex and may not take hormones or have gender-affirming surgery.
3. Access To Immigration And Asylum
The Trump Administration’s anti-immigration views are no secret. During his first term, he pledged to build a wall across the U.S.- Mexico border, deported close to 1 million people and held children of asylum seekers in makeshift cages.
Trump’s anti-immigration policy is especially worrisome for asylum seekers fleeing gender-based violence in their home countries. In June 2019, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a law which would allow immigration officials to dismiss asylum applicants as “frivolous” without a hearing. Moreover, Trump has expanded immigration bans in the wake of COVID-19, deporting asylum seekers coming over the Mexican border and banning new green cards.
4. Equal Access To Healthcare
LGBTQ-affirmative healthcare is yet another area where the Trump Administration has already reversed Obama-era laws.
A Health and Human Services rule established by Obama in 2016 banned health care discrimination against LGBTQ people. In addition, the rule provided protections for pre-existing conditions pertinent to the LGBTQ population like gender dysphoria and HIV/AIDS. Prior to the ruling, anyone diagnosed with these conditions could legally be denied health insurance. Also, transition procedures could be excluded from insurance plans.
Now the Trump Administration wants to eliminate these protections. At this time, a federal court has placed a hold on the policy. While that’s good news for LGBTQ people, it’s not the end of the story.
A second Trump term would likely see trans health care rights further chipped away. Depending on the congressional makeup, the Trump Administration could attempt to ban transition-related care from Medicaid coverage or try to instate a Food and Drug Administration ban on puberty blockers for trans adolescents.
5. Anti-Discrimination Protections
While the Supreme Court’s June 2020 ruling about LGBTQ workplace protections was a landmark win for the community, it’s just the beginning.
LGBTQ people continue to face discrimination in housing, access to credit, education and jury service, just to name a few. That’s why Congress drafted the Equality Act. If passed by the Senate, the bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity the same way religion and race are protected.
Although the bill enjoys bipartisan support and was approved by Congress in a 236–173 vote, the Trump Administration opposes it, claiming it’s filled with “poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said Trump’s opposition to the Equality Act “further cements his administration’s legacy of being the most anti-LGBTQ government in recent memory.”
Get Out And Vote
Another Trump term would have disastrous consequences for the LGBTQ community and their allies for decades to come. In his first term, Trump has already chipped away discrimination protections and healthcare access for the LGBTQ community. Another four years would mean even more rights lost.
But that doesn’t have to happen. Joe Biden is a pro-LGBTQ candidate and will work to reestablish and expand rights for the LGBTQ community.
During his time as vice president, Biden came out in support of marriage equality three years before it became federal law. Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Biden has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights, promising support for the Equality Act, expanded access to healthcare and a commitment to end the HIV epidemic by 2025.
As an LGBTQ-only facility, La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center supports Joe Biden for president. Our community has far too much to lose from another Trump presidency. We encourage all of our alumni and current patients to exercise their constitutional right to vote. You can register here.