Handy targets

Dear President Trump,

Dude, why don’t you just introduce a new Amendment to the Constitution allowing bigoted people to discriminate against anyone they want for whatever reason they choose to pull out of their asses? If you did it that way we could be done with this cynical, piecemeal game you all are playing with human rights. Yesterday “your” “Justice” Department let it be known that your administration is going to press the Supreme Court to not only rule against the plaintiffs in three LGBTQ-rights cases they will be hearing in the fall, but to go leagues further and formally set legal precedent that it’s just fine to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. Exactly one week earlier “your” “Justice” Department said that you all are going for the same deal regarding transgender people’s rights.

I hate to admit that when I saw the HP article about your desire to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation I was surprised (I somehow missed the HP article last week about the parallel drive to crush transgender people) and dismayed. And angry. Anger and dismay are both more than reasonable, but surprise, not so much. It was really just a matter of time before you went at us again, having successfully pulled back the rights of transgender military personnel to serve in their preferred gender and barring anyone with gender dysphoria from joining the military (www.defense.gov/explore/story/Article/1783822/5-things-to-know-about-dods-new-policy-on-military-service-by-transgender-perso/). That one must have been a boffo hit in certain circles so why not come around for another go at transgender people and why not go for broke and go after the rest of us under the LGBTQ umbrella? Along with immigrants and women seeking full reproductive rights, LGBTQ people are handy targets to take aim at when the economy is faltering, your base is getting restless, and even your most favorite-ist news outlet can’t be trusted to carry the Trumpian tiki torch properly.

It would almost be worth it to have your minions on the SC make such judgments since I think all hell would break loose. At least I hope it would. All hell should break loose on this one, but all hell should have broken loose on so many diabolical, shitty things you’ve done that it’s hard to trust that the collective wouldn’t just shrug and say, “well, at least there are a few more episodes of Queer Eye left in Season 4.”

One of the things I did this morning when I saw the HP sexual orientation article was to look up the federal government’s rules about protected classes of individuals. I thought I remembered seeing that federal employees could not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation but when I found the official EEO government website it doesn’t include sexual orientation. That was around 9 this morning and I was in a pretty deep funk for several hours as my dismay deepened and my confusion over my mistake gnawed at me.

Well, just now I decided to look to see whether the VA had a separate set of rules. While it does not appear that we do, I found a 2010 memo by Secretary Shinseki to all VA employees citing President Clinton’s 1998 Executive Order (EO 13087) barring discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and letting us know that beginning immediately the VA would not just deal with such claims through the informal counseling stage, but would adjudicate them all the way through formal investigations as directed by EEOC regulation 29 C.F.R. 1614 (www.diversity.va.gov/policy/files/Processing_Sexual_Orientation_Claims.pdf). So I didn’t make it up.

Because EO’s can be nullified, I just checked and it looks like even though you made a dick-move in 2017 in rescinding President Obama’s EO protecting government contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation (that was EO 13672), you haven’t rescinded Clinton’s. It’s not that I want to give you ideas at all (and if I thought you read these letters, I might think twice about laying all this out for you), but I do think it’s important that we be clear that you can’t just point out the people you want to vote off the island and magically have it made so.

Except that you really did do this to government contractors and you did it to transgender people serving or wanting to serve in the military. And even if you somehow overlook EO 13087, it only covers federal employees and doesn’t do jack for anyone else or in non-employment contexts.

So, this all means that we cannot be complacent and we cannot allow ourselves to be pawns or sacrificial lambs as you desperately maneuver to try and keep your base riled up and distracted from your blunders.

May we all be safe to be ourselves out in the world.
May those who’ve allowed themselves to be hoodwinked (looking at you Log Cabin Republicans) get it together.
May all of us who find ourselves under attack for who we are be healthy and strong.
May everyone make peace with everyone because we’ll all be safer, happier, and healthier that way.

Tracy Simpson

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