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Empire Justice Center Condemns Trump Administration Assaults on LGBT Rights

July 28, 2017

Contact: Kristin Brown, (518) 935-2844 or Milo Primeaux, (585) 295-5721

In one day our nation saw two alarming actions from the Trump administration which, taken together, are a radical assault on LGBT people and their rights nationwide.

In the morning affront, President Trump declared, via Twitter, that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the United States military in any capacity.  Transgender Americans have been serving in the armed forces for many years. According to the Williams Institute, over 15,000 transgender people are serving in the military today, and despite a previous ban on serving openly which was finally lifted last year, an estimated 134,000 veterans are transgender.  Calling for the re-establishment of a ban on open transgender service, nearly one year to the day it was originally lifted, is not only actively harmful to our military and to the thousands of members who have volunteered to serve our country, but flies in the face of Department of Defense’s own research and recommendations, collected in a report from the RAND Corporation, which not only recommended inclusive service but also point to negligible health care costs of transgender-inclusive policies. Military service is one of the privileges and responsibilities of American society, and Empire Justice Center denounces this overt attack on transgender Americans.

By dinner time, we learned that the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are unworthy of protection from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation under the Civil Rights Act.  This intervening amicus brief, in a dispute involving two private parties, directly clashes with both recent case law, as well as guidance from the EEOC that have found that claims of sexual orientation discrimination are gender stereotype or sex discrimination.  Empire Justice Center is dismayed by this attempt to roll back progress on LGBT rights and establish a legal basis for discrimination against LGBT Americans.

Taken together, these are intentional repressive and regressive broadsides to equality and economic justice for LGBT Americans.  Empire Justice Center works every day to protect and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and we strongly condemn this Administration’s plans to reduce these communities to second-class citizens.