People For the American Way (PFAW) has filed suit against the Trump administration to demand the release of documents over its anti-LGBTQ policies and actions.
PFAW filed the suit yesterday, in federal court, against both the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, after previous attempts to gain information through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests went ignored.
Right Wing Watch, a project of PFAW, made FOIA requests last year with both the DOJ and HUD, requesting documents related to actions removing mentions of LGBTQ people from federal programs.
The actions were being done without public notice, leading to questions regarding what agencies and officials were directing the moves, why it was being done, the scope of the decisions being made, and why it was all being done with secrecy.
“There’s absolutely no reason why the these agencies should refuse to release these documents,” said Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, in a statement. “The public has a right to know what directives are being handed down that resulted in LGBTQ people being written out of federal programs and activities.”
“These under-the-radar changes can have a massive effect on the way our government works, and it appears Trump administration officials are trying to create secret agency laws in order to push their extreme agenda. That’s simply not permissible. We have a right to see these documents and we’re going to court to get them.”
The FOIA request for copies of any directives to withdraw efforts to combat LGBTQ homelessness came in August, on the heels of a New York magazine report that department leadership had:
… ordered the removal of online training materials meant, in part, to help homeless shelters make sure they were providing equal access to transgender people. It also pulled back a survey regarding projects in Cincinnati and Houston to reduce LGBT homelessness. And it forced its Policy Development and Research division to dissociate itself from a major study it had funded on housing discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender people — the study ended up being released in late June under the aegis of the Urban Institute instead.
It also requested information related to similar decisions to remove references to LGBTQ people from agency policies.
The following month, after The New York Times reported the DOJ “scrubbed references to ‘L.G.B.T.Q. youth’ from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking,” Right Wing Watch requested any directives related to that action.
The deadlines have passed for fulfilling the FOIA requests, leading to the lawsuit.