GLAAD statement on President Trump's remarks to the Joint Session of Congress

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s remarks to the Joint Session of Congress and across the nation.

“The policies discussed tonight and previously enacted by President Trump and his Administration are a commitment to proactively discriminate against the most marginalized and vulnerable Americans. When Trump advocated for a safer country, this did not include protecting the rights of transgender youth. When he spoke about repealing the Affordable Care Act, he didn’t mention that the uninsured rate for LGBTQ Americans would double. President Trump is making it crystal clear that he is not a leader for all the people.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Trump’s Address = Harm for LGBTQ Americans

Trump’s Anti-LGBTQ Actions So Far

HEADLINE: Trump administration withdraws federal protections for transgender students. [CNN, 2.22.17]

A leaked draft of an executive order showed President Trump and his administration may be planning to use so-called “religious freedom” to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. “A draft of an executive order on "religious freedom" is circulating in the Trump administration, outlining a possible weakening of protections designed to shield LGBT individuals from discrimination, according to a copy of the proposed order obtained by ABC News. The order — which may never become administration policy, depending on internal deliberations — would also free some private companies from being forced to provide contraceptive coverage as part of the health plans they offer employees. And it would open the door for tax-exempt entities to speak out "on moral or political issues from a religious perspective" without fear of losing favored tax status.” [ABC News, 2.1.17]

HEADLINE: Trump signs executive order to keep out 'radical Islamic terrorists'. [CNN, 1.30.17]

HEADLINE: These Are The LGBT Refugees Trapped By Donald Trump’s Immigration Order. “A group of 12 queer Iranians in hiding in Turkey had gathered for a small party on Tuesday night when someone spotted the report that President Donald Trump planned to stop resettling refugees in the United States.Several of those there that night had been waiting for their US visas, their cases having been referred to the US by the United Nations. Some had already been turned away from other countries. Others were still waiting to find out if they would ever get a ticket out. All felt their dreams crushed as they heard the news.” [BuzzFeed News, 1.29.17]

ACA Repeal Would Harm LGBTQ Americans

Under the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate for LGBTQ Americans dropped from 28% to 11%. “According to Jen Kates, Vice President and Director of Global Health and HIV Policy at the Kaiser Institute, the ACA has made a "significant difference" for the LGBTQ community. "The ACA actually decreased the uninsured rate among LGBTQ folks more than other populations," Kates told NBC Out. In a study by the Urban Institute, researchers estimated the percentage of uninsured lesbian, gay and bisexual adults fell from 28 percent to 11 percent between June 2013 and March 2015.” [NBC Out, 1.21.17]

Lifetime caps were dismantled under ACA, giving HIV+ Americans access to health care and medications. “If the ACA is repealed, as Republicans are trying to do, not only would 32 million people lose health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but LGBTs would be disproportionately affected. And “disproportionately affected” is a phrase which here means “get sick and die.” For example, HIV treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month. Insurance companies that don’t want to pay for that treatment could just refuse to cover all gay people on the basis that gay men are more likely to be HIV positive. Or they could raise monthly premiums just for gays. Or they could create a lifetime cap, so you pay into their system and then as soon as you need expensive treatment, they drop you. All this was legal until the ACA banned it.” [Huffington Post, 1.29.17]

Under the ACA, people with “pre-existing conditions” were given opportunity to receive health coverage, including transgender Americans. “Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of "race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability" in any program that receives federal funding. The Obama administration has interpreted this clause to include gender identity and sex stereotyping. As a result, programs and providers are prohibited from denying services to an individual on the basis of their trans identity and must provide treatment consistent with their gender identity.” [NBC Out, 1.21.17]

Call for Jobs Ignores Critical Needs for LGBTQ Americans

Minimum wage increase would cut poverty for LGBTQ couples. “To estimate the impact of raising the minimum wage, we artificially raised the wages of the people earning less than $15 an hour in 2014 to $15 and recalculated the simulated poverty rates, presented in the red bars of Figure 1. The red bars show that poverty would fall dramatically for all four kinds of couples. The poverty rate for unmarried different-sex couples would be cut in half. Poverty for lesbian couples would fall by 46%, and the drop for gay male couples would be 35%. Even married different-sex couples would see a 45% fall in poverty in these simulations.” [Williams Institute, September 2016]

A “Safer” American Should Mean Pro-LGBTQ Policies

More than 178 congressional leaders have cosponsored the Equality Act, a bill that would provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in housing, employment, and public accommodations. [Congress.Gov]