Donald Trump clearly didn’t mean what was implied when he held the pride flag (upside-down) in support of LGBTQ rights. Image by Steven Crowley via The New York Times.
We’ve all read about the damage that the Trump administration has done to LGBTQ people, whether directly or indirectly, from the transgender military ban to nominating an anti-gay candidate for a lifetime position as a judge, Trump has shown that he is not a friend of LGBTQ people. To make matters worse, the State Department just announced the launch of a new advisory board that would place civil rights in the context of “natural law,” according to LGBTQ Nation. This can mean real trouble for equal rights and anyone who fights for equality.
The concept of “natural law” is mostly used in the conservative Christian circle as a way to claim that homosexuality is immoral, and, as such, LGBTQ people shouldn’t get equal rights. According to the State Department, this new advisory board will “provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.” The only thinking that should be done in regard to human rights is that everyone deserves equal treatment, i.e., LGBTQ people deserve the right to marry and be free from discrimination. This advisory board, to me, sounds like a thinly-veiled way to appease Trump’s more extreme followers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that the purpose of the board is to create a solid definition of human rights that the US can communicate to the diplomats of the world. However, not everyone agrees with Pompeo. David Kramer, the former, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights during the George W. Bush administration, doesn’t understand what the purpose of the board, as the human rights bureau already works on human rights. Like I mentioned before, this board is most likely just a way for Trump to appease his base before the upcoming presidential election next year, as “natural law” is a concept that suggests there are certain God-given rights that are inherent in all humans and, because this concept relies mostly on religious reasoning, this board may use religion to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Legalized discrimination against LGBTQ people is nothing new, as it has been going on for many years, with things like the Lavender Scare which allowed federal employers to fire LGBTQ people from their jobs over a perceived security risk, to Jake Phillips winning the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, to Trump’s transgender military ban. By creating this advisory board, the Trump administration is further normalizing discrimination. And I thought the president was supposed to serve all Americans…