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Trump administration erases LGBT people from another federal agency’s nondiscrimination policy

burning rainbow flag
Rainbow flag burns in a pro-Trump ad by Milo Yiannopoulos.Photo: YouTube

The Trump administration has yet again shown its disdain for the LGBTQ community by erasing protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and identity in another federal agency.

The U.S. General Services Administration, tasked with helping to manage and support the functioning of federal agencies, no longer lists those two categories in their list of protected classes of people in their Equal Employment Opportunity statement.

general services administration equal employment opportunity
U.S. Government

Protected groups include race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, and genetic information.

This contradicts the 2015 version that included protections on the basis of “Sex — including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity,[2] and sex role stereotyping,” and was said to not become outdated until 2022.

GSA 2015 equal employment opportunity
U.S. Government/GSA

It is also in violation of federal law that makes it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the federal workforce, as well as those who work for companies that contract with the federal government.

Acting Administrator Timothy Horne, appointed by Trump, sent out a memo on the importance of nondiscrimination on October 25, but did so without the inclusion of LGBTQ protections.

“Yet again, we see the Trump-Pence Administration actively seeking to undermine rights for LGBTQ people,” said David Stacy, the Human Rights Campaign’s Government Affairs Director.

“The GSA’s move to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity from their Equal Employment Opportunity statement is mean-spirited, deceptive and irresponsible. The GSA’s EEO statement is meant to inform workers and applicants about their legal protections — protections that federal employees have had for decades. Cutting specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity protections is a slap in the face to LGBTQ federal employees who proudly serve and sadly signals that this administration does not value them. The GSA should immediately restore the previous, accurate EEO policy.”

A spokesperson for the agency told the Washington Blade that LGBTQ employees are still protected, but did not immediately return a request to clarify why that information had been left out of the updated memo.

A similar situation occurred this summer when the Commerce Department, under Wilbur Ross, removed LGBTQ protections from its nondiscrimination policy. They were returned after media scrutiny, and the department blamed oversight.

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