The Fate of Upcoming Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Looks Grim
The LGBTQ community is worried about their future in this county, and rightfully so. The 2016 Republican Party platform was possibly the most anti-LGBTQ platform ever and after this year's election, we have a Republican led government. The upcoming Trump administration is full of anti-LGBTQ politicians like Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions who have adamantly opposed equal rights for the LGBTQ community throughout their careers. It is becoming increasingly clear that many of the pending anti-LGBTQ bills could soon be signed into law, ushering in a new era of discrimination and bigotry.
Almost 200 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced to local legislatures in 2016 alone. The state of Texas recently introduced two of such measures, Senate Bills 92 and 242. Senate Bill 92 would prohibit cities and counties from adopting or enforcing nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ individuals. This would nullify nondiscrimination measures that cover roughly one-third of the state's population. Senate Bill 242 obliges educators to disclose personal information about a student, including their gender identity and sexuality, to their parents. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also hopes to introduce a "bathroom bill" this upcoming year.
If Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA,) Donald Trump said he will sign it. FADA protects individuals, corporations, and businesses who discriminate against LGBTQ individuals under the guise of religious freedom. The bill applies to anyone who "believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."
The implications of FADA would be far-reaching. If corporations or businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, hospitals could refuse to treat LGBTQ people or their family members, bushiness could refuse to offer health benefits to an employee's same-sex partner or state-funded adoption agencies could refuse to place children with LGBTQ families. Since language in the bill specifically refers to "sexual relations," this legislation could impact contraception, treatment of STD's and sex education. This act could also compromise current non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and their families.
And what about same-sex marriage? If FADA is signed into law, it could allow individual businesses to deny spousal benefits to LGBTQ couples or refuse to approve FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) requests to leave and care for a same-sex spouse.
Other measures aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination are in jeopardy. These include the Equality Act which would provide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across employment, housing, education, and public spaces and services as well as federal funding designated for programs that fight HIV/AIDS and provide financial assistance to at-risk members of the LGBTQ community.
In addition to anti-LGBTQ legislation, immigration also poses a threat to at-risk LGBTQ asylum seekers. Trans women often migrate to America to escape extreme violence and discrimination in their home countries. The Trump administrations anti-immigration stance and deportation plans could affect the estimated 50,000 undocumented trans immigrants currently living in our country. It could also impact LGBTQ immigrants from being able to avoid deportation from marrying their loved ones if same-sex marriage is overturned.
If you are concerned about the fate of such upcoming legislation, take action by writing to your local representatives and state senators or donate your time or money to organizations such as GLAAD, GLSEN, the Trevor Project or your local LGBTQ alliance organizations. If you have additional ideas about how to take action, leave a comment below!