Trump continues to erase LGBTQ references from government websites


It appears that America’s LGBTQ community is headed for dark times as the Trump administration signals that it may be preparing to cut back on advances made by former President Obama.

On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said it had discovered the deletion of a number of LGBTQ references from the State Department website.

This includes former Secretary of State John Kerry’s historic formal apology earlier this month for past discrimination against diplomats and officials based on their sexual orientation, most notably the infamous “Lavender Scare” witch hunt in the 1950s and 1960s.

HRC also said that other content regarding LGBTQ pride month observances and the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons was also removed.

The pages that housed the apology and details about the special envoy and his role now states: “We’re sorry, that page can’t be found.”

The move follows the deletion, on the same day as President Trump’s inauguration, of every mention of LGBTQ people from the White House website, as well as a Department of Labour report on LGBTQ worker rights.

HRC accused the Trump administration of “systematically scrubbing the progress made for LGBTQ people from official websites”.

“With each passing hour, the Trump administration continues to show the extent of their contempt for the enormous progress made over the past eight years,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

“Secretary Kerry’s apology to LGBTQ employees and their families who were targeted, harassed, and fired set the right tone for the State Department, even if it couldn’t undo the damage done decades ago. It is outrageous that the new administration would attempt to erase from the record this historic apology for witch hunts that destroyed the lives of innocent Americans.

“The apology, along with the other important LGBTQ content that has been removed, should immediately be restored, and President Trump should condemn such behaviour at all departments and agencies,” added Griffin.

It is still unclear what will happen to the position of the special LGBTQ envoy, created by Kerry in February 2015 and held by Randy Berry (who visited South Africa in early 2016).

It is also unknown if the Trump administration will maintain existing funding and support of LGBTQ and HIV groups around the world, primarily in places where the community is under threat.

While President Trump has claimed to support the LGBTQ community, during his election campaign he suggested that he would be open to revisiting the issue of marriage equality in America as well as opposing transgender rights and favouring so called “religious liberty” laws .

Vice President Mike Pence, who is known for being openly anti-LGBTQ, has in the past opposed efforts by the US to promote LGBTQ equality around the globe.

Kerry’s apology can still be found here via an archive captured by Wayback Machine.

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