An LGBTQ rights group has collaborated with an artist to create a unique protest against reports that the Trump administration has banned some government agencies from using words like “transgender”.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that the administration banned the use of seven words by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
On Tuesday night, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and artist Robin Bell projected the words onto the side of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
The projection, which lasted for roughly half an hour during rush hour, included the banned words – “transgender,” “fetus,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” – and concluded with a declaration from the LGBTQ community: “we will not be erased.”
In conjunction with the enormous light display, HRC filed a Freedom of Information Act with the Department of Health and Human Services for any and all records, including communications with the CDC, relating to the banned words from November 2016 onward.
“Our message for the Trump-Pence Administration is this: you cannot erase us. We will meet attacks on our community with a resolve to be louder and more visible than ever before,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Director of Government Affairs.
“Furthermore, the American public deserves to know the degree to which the Trump-Pence Administration has interfered with the life-saving work of the CDC.
“It was not long ago that the government tried to ignore the reality of the HIV and AIDS crisis to the detriment of millions. This kind of erasure has potentially catastrophic consequences beyond the words used by the CDC — it could impact the very programs most vital to the health of transgender people, women, youth and others,” said Stacy.
Reports initially surfaced on Friday that the Trump-Pence Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services forbid CDC officials from using several words in critical budget documents. The CDC regularly engages in research and work impacting marginalised communities, including efforts to reduce health disparities among the transgender community.
The HRC said the ‘word ban’ appears to be “part of the ongoing effort by the Trump-Pence Administration to erase LGBTQ from reports and data collection.”
The administration has controversially dropped questions around LGBTQ identity from a number of national surveys. It has furthermore defended “religious freedom” as a justification for discrimination against the community and has also attempted to ban transgender people from serving in the US military.