Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 6)

[Content Note: Anti-LGBTQ bigotry and slurs; anti-Semitism; reproductive coercion.]

Here's my regular reminder that 77% of LGBTQ voters chose Hillary Clinton over any other contender in the 2016 US presidential election.

Many reasons exist for this disproportionate level of queer support for Clinton. I suspect that a big one was the accurate prediction that, as signaled by his selection of Mike Pence as his VP candidate, Donald Trump was on his way to becoming a hypocritical Christian Cultural Warrior for the far-right. Also, it is the function of the U.S. President to make nominations to the judiciary, which has historically played an important role in recognizing LGBTQ rights when cishet majorities have refused to do so.

Here's a roundup of recent queer-related news. As you read, keep in mind that the morally-bankrupt Donald Trump is beholden to deliver "culture war" wins to white Evangelicals, who largely continue to support him.

1) Republican Administration Issues "Religious Proclamation," Neo-Nazis Celebrate

In a nod toward supporting the special right for bigots (and cake artistes) to discriminate against LGBTQ people and those seeking abortions, Donald Trump proclaimed January 18, 2018 to be "Religious Freedom Day."

Subtly referencing the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that is pending before SCOTUS, his statement read, in part, "No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law."

The message was received loud and clear.

Via PinkNews, the Daily Stormer (a pro-Trump Neo-Nazi site) published a celebratory response to this proclamation: "Trump 'Declares Open Season' on Faggots." The author of the piece rejoiced at the prospect of "depriving perverts of gay cakes."

2) Department of Health and Human Services Creates "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division"

Also on January 18, 2018, Trump's Republican Administration created a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Pro-choice and LGBTQ advocates have expressed concern that this move could allow medical providers to refuse to provide abortions and to discriminate against LGBTQ patients "for religious reasons."

The National LGBTQ Task Force has responded, in a press release:
"We are not fooled: The new office announced this morning is meant to make it easier for people to discriminate, not to protect people of faith. Health professionals have a duty to care for all their patients regardless of one's gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, creed, race, political views, gender, or disability, and no one should be denied care for being who they are.

The overwhelming majority of people of faith support health care access for women and LGBTQ people. There is no contradiction between meeting your duty to care for all people and living by your moral and religious conviction. All people deserve access to care, including transgender people, those seeking assisted suicide, and those seeking reproductive health services such as an abortion or sterilization."
For some additional context, The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (PDF) reports that 28% of trans and gender-nonconforming respondents have been harassed in medical settings and 50% reported having to teach their providers about transgender care.

That is, many LGBTQ people — trans people in particular — already experience significant barriers to the receipt of safe and competent medical care. This new DHHS division will cost more than $300 million to set up, resources that would be better spent addressing barriers to the provision of medical care, not toward protecting Christian Supremacists medical providers' special right to remain ignorant bigots.

Also notable, if you visit this new division's web page, you are greeted by an image of a woman in hijab, which for most Americans signifies a Muslim woman, as a healthcare provider:
This image implicitly pits Muslims and LGBT people against each other and disingenuously suggests that it's Muslims who are the driving force behind requesting these special rights, rather than Christian supremacists.

3) U.S. Denies Citizenship to Children of Same-Sex Couples

Via The Washington Post, two same-sex couples have filed federal discrimination lawsuits against the U.S. State Department for denying citizenship to their children born outside of the U.S.

The cases hinge on the provisions for birthright citizenship that are specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under this law, babies born abroad are U.S. citizens at birth if one of the child's parents is a married U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for a set amount of time. In addition, children born "outside of wedlock" may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth under certain circumstances, such as (a) if the the child's mother is a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth, or (b) a blood relationship between the child and father, who must be a U.S. citizen, can be established "by clear and convincing evidence."

For purposes of the INA, the State Department considers the children of married same-sex couples as being born "outside of wedlock." And, under this analysis, only a child's biological parent is considered to be the parent for U.S. citizenship purposes.

In one of the cases, for instance, two women who are married each gave birth to one child. They are all living together as a family. Yet, because one of the women is a citizen of Italy, the State Department has denied U.S. birthright citizenship to the child that she gave birth to. Thus, one of the couple's children is excluded from U.S. citizenship and one is not, based on which woman gave birth to the child.

The couple are being represented by Immigration Equality and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and the complaints can be read here.

Also, a note: Per The Washington Post article cited above, one of the couples approached the Obama Administration about this issue in 2015, but it was unable to be resolved prior to Trump taking office.

4) Can We Get a Status Update on This?

Hey, I know there's a lot going on but has anyone determined yet if the current Vice President of the United States actually wants to hang queers, or whether Donald Trump was "just joking" about that?

It's still remarkable how quickly that story fell off the radar.

5) Speaking of Mike Pence

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has issued a report about the status of "conversion therapy" to "treat" LGBTQ people in the US (PDF). Of note, the report is a reminder that the practice continues, despite professional associations' opposition to it:
"An estimated 20,000 LGBT youth (ages 13-17) will receive conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they reach the age of 18 in the 41 states that currently do not ban the practice, unless additional states pass conversion therapy bans."
Donald Trump has not, to my knowledge, issued any public remarks on, or opposition to, "conversion therapy."

6) Jamaica Bans U.S. Anti-LGBTQ Pastor

Via The Guardian, Jamaica has banned Steven Anderson, head of the Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, from visiting the country. Anderson has promoted Holocaust denialism, has prayed for the death of President Obama, believes gays should be put to death, equates homosexuality with pedophilia, and has been barred from entering multiple other countries. His church has also been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

I guess it's probably a matter of time before he's tapped for service by the Republican Administration.

7) Report Shows Decreased Acceptance of LGBTQ People in U.S.

A recent GLAAD report (PDF) has shown that acceptance of LGBTQ people has decreased among non-LGBTQs for the first time since GLAAD began commissioning The Harris Poll to measure these attitudes four years ago. The report also showed an 11 percentage point increase in LGBTQ individuals reporting discrimination within the past year (55%).

Say, maybe all those liberal/left white-dude-authored "time to ditch identity politics" pieces we saw published right after the election of a Republican Administration openly hostile to LGBTQ people weren't such great ideas after all!

In conclusion, and as always, whoooooops it turns out there were meaningful differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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