The Trump Administration this week selected the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) and the Heritage Foundation, two anti-LGBTQ organizations, to lead the United States’ effort to help the United Nations promote gender equality and the empowerment of women across the globe.
This selection further highlights the ongoing attack the Trump Administration has been waging on the LGBTQ community since the moment the president was sworn into office.
Since the Trump Administration began, it has provided a platform to legitimize and provide an echo chamber for dangerous and virulent anti-LGBTQ organizations – including C-FAM and the Heritage Foundation. These organizations are now using this new-found bully pulpit to reiterate outdated talking points that have been consistently debunked by medical professionals and the media.
C-FAM’s President Austin Ruse has said homosexuality is “harmful to public health and morals.” The president of this organization, Austin Ruse, has one of the most extreme quote banks of anyone we track in GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project. He has many times advocated for laws barring homosexuality, frames homosexuality as harmful to public health, and much, much more.
Heritage Foundation is no better. This organization has said pro-LGBTQ bills and laws “threaten freedom.” The organization’s chief surrogate on LGBTQ issues, Ryan Anderson, has called marriage equality a “lie,” has advocated for “conversion therapy” programs, and is a vocal opponent of transgender rights. More on Ryan can be found in GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project.
Outside of these organizations, other anti-LGBTQ activist groups have returned to mainstream media outlets to defend the Trump Administration.
The Family Research Council (where Austin Ruse’s wife, Cathy Ruse, is a senior official) has been at the forefront of this surge of anti-LGBTQ revival. Not only did this hate group (as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center) receive an invitation to the White House’s grand reveal of Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court Nominee, but this anti-LGBTQ group has been on cable television at minimum eight times since the turn of the new year. Further, FRC was a part of an ABC News investigation on the controversial and discredited “conversion therapy” practices occurring in the Southern United States. Considering one of FRC’s most virulent senior officials, Ken Blackwell, served on the Trump transition team, FRC’s new prominence should not be so surprising.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the American Family Association (AFA) have taken a less up front approach, but both have started once again promoting their anti-LGBTQ agenda. Following Donald Trump’s election victory, NOM has deemed the president as their “hope and change” candidate – going as far as to publishing a web video in support of the rumored “religious freedom” executive order. The AFA also praised the rumored executive order while also holding behind-closed-door meetings with President Trump himself.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. From Alliance Defending Freedom saying they were “thankful” for the president’s choice to rescind transgender protections in our schools (as did the Liberty Counsel) to Focus on the Family actively campaigning for the confirmation of anti-LGBTQ public officials Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Jeff Sessions to top cabinet positions, anti-LGBTQ groups are on a full-scale, all-approach assault to make sure full equality is set back a generation.
There’s no sugarcoating the fact that President Trump has repeatedly proven his actions far outweigh the sales pitch he gave to the public during the 2016 election campaign.
So what can we do to fight back? For starters, educate yourself and your friends on what is happening each day in the Trump Administration’s attack on the LGBTQ community. These moves may not grab headlines, but we must stay informed.
Also, it’s time to finally discredit the choice by anti-LGBTQ Trump Administration and outside organizations to use “religious freedom” as a shield for legalizing discrimination against people who are marginalized and are in most need.
It’s this “religious discrimination” agenda that is driving Washington, D.C. and statehouses across the nation to do whatever possible to pass openly anti-trans “bathroom bills” and shove through measures that relegate LGBTQ families as second-class citizens, permitting a “license to discriminate” against the entire community.
As the Trump Administration continues to use outside hate groups like C-FAM and the Heritage Foundation to validate their anti-LGBTQ agenda, GLAAD will continue to push back, hold this administration accountable, and advocate for full equality for all LGBTQ Americans.