We Resist: Day 190

the Philadelphia Pride flag with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Senate Healthcare Bill Fails Again and Russian Retaliation for Sanctions Vote Begins.

Today, I want to dedicate the entirety of the We Resist thread to the Trump administration's attacks on the LGBTQ community over the past couple of days. Although I am dedicating my post thus, please note that, as always, comments are open to all subjects that need our attention and resistance.

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On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump tweeted:

This is as dishonest as it is indecent. Multiple studies have concluded that trans service members do not burden the military with "tremendous medical costs" nor "disruption."

This is just straight-up malice, justified by lies.

I'm sure I don't need to recall the many times that Trump claimed during the campaign that he would be a friend to the LGBTQ community. That was always a transparent lie — especially after he chose Mike Pence as his running mate (I'll come back to that) — but my condolences to anyone who inexplicably believed the disgusting charlatan and now feels betrayed.

More importantly: My unwavering solidarity with the people who knew he would rain abuse on marginalized people and voted accordingly.

I am white hot angry that Trump has placed a target on the backs of trans troops, many of whom came out because they believed they were safe following the decision during the Obama administration to allow them to serve openly.

Jane Coaston noted that the Department of Defense "is the largest single employer of trans people in the country. An estimated 15K [pdf] are currently serving."

Andrew Thaler also pointed out: "It's not just a reversal. It's a dramatic expansion beyond active duty soldiers. 'The military in any capacity' includes NOAA, the CDC, Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, as well as a huge number of Defense supported science programs."

And Tressie McMillan Cottom observed: "Public sector jobs are where all marginalized people take refuge. They are taxpayers and citizens and deserve dignified labor from their own government."

The point is: This is a big fucking deal, in several ways. It is not just "a distraction."

Further to that, it also isn't a surprise, if you've been paying attention to Pence — or paying attention to me paying attention to Pence.

screen cap of a tweet authored by me warning 'Keep. Your. Eyes. On. Pence.' and linking to a Foreign Policy report: 'Mike Pence has quietly been working to get the Pentagon to undo transgender military service'

It's not a "distraction" if it's a noted policy objective of the man who's running White House policy.

They weren't even circumspect about the huge role Pence would play in the administration:
Donald Jr. explained that his father's vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

"Making America great again" was the casual reply.
So here we are.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had no idea that Trump was planning this reversal and expansion of policy, say there will not be "any changes to its transgender policy until [Donald] Trump clarifies what he meant in a series of surprise tweets." In a memo to military leaders, the chair of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, wrote: "There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance. In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Until directed otherwise by the fucking president.

Trump's tweet, even without any directives on implementation, has already caused a candidate for a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw himself from consideration: "John Fluharty, a former executive director of the Delaware Republican party, informed a DHS official in an email Wednesday morning that he was pulling out of contention to be the assistant secretary of partnership and engagement at the department."
"As I mentioned in our conversation, I am a strong advocate for diversity, both in the Republican Party and in government," Fluharty wrote in an email obtained by POLITICO. "The President's announcement this morning — that he will ban all of those who identify as transgender from military service — runs counter to my deeply held beliefs, and it would be impossible for me to commit to serving the Administration knowing that I would be working against those values."

Fluharty, who is openly gay, said he interviewed for the job on Tuesday, one day before Trump's surprise tweet that the government "will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity" in the U.S. military.
I guess he hadn't noticed that virtually the entirety of Trump's administration is straight white cis men, but okay. The point is that this executive bigotry is yet another barrier to staffing the federal government with competent or decent people.

Trans people should be allowed to serve openly in the military and have access to healthcare because they are human beings and all human beings deserve these basic rights and dignities.

Queer people shouldn't be granted rights because it benefits cishet people — but I sure hope that cishet people realize that taking away trans rights and reducing trans inclusion will have a deleterious effect on us, too. It will make our country less safe, it will make our governance even worse, and it will diminish us as a nation and as individual people.

I'm not "distracted" by this news. I am highly preoccupied by it because how my government treats my fellow countrypersons is extraordinarily important to me. It defines the United States to the world, and it defines us to ourselves and each other.

* * *

Later the same day, Jeff Sessions' Justice Department "argued in a major federal lawsuit that a 1964 civil rights law doesn't protect gay workers from discrimination, thereby diverging from a separate, autonomous federal agency that had supported the gay plaintiff's case."
The Trump administration's filing is unusual in part because the Justice Department isn't a party in the case, and the department doesn't typically weigh in on private employment lawsuits.

But in an amicus brief filed at the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, lawyers under Attorney General Jeff Sessions contend that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination, does not cover sexual orientation.

"The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination," says the Justice Department's brief. "It does not, as has been settled for decades. Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts."

The Justice Department also contends that Title VII only applies if men and women are treated unequally.

"The essential element of sex discrimination under Title VII is that employees of one sex must be treated worse than similarly situated employees of the other sex, and sexual orientation discrimination simply does not have that effect," the brief says.
The DoJ isn't even a party in the case, but filed a brief just to use its weight to argue that LGB folks aren't entitled to protections under Title VII. Fucking hell.

This, I fear, is only the beginning of a campaign to erode the social justice progress made over the last decade. Resistance is a marathon. Let's all make sure we keep well hydrated.

*passes water bottles to anyone who needs 'em*

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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