Trump continues to disappoint LGBTQ Americans and their allies with two recent decisions: inviting Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s rabidly anti-LGBTQ president, to the White House, and reallocating millions from HIV-prevention and other health programs to shelter migrant kids at the border.
Bolsonaro’s visit will occur on March 19, 2019. The men will discuss “defense cooperation, pro-growth trade policies, combatting transnational crime, and restoring democracy in Venezuela” and “playing [a major role] in the effort to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuela,” according to a press release from the Office of the Press Secretary.
Bolsanaro has said that he’d shoot his son if he ever came out as gay. He has also pledged to remove all pro-LGBTQ content from Brazilian schools, calling it “gender ideology” which threatens the country’s Christian values. Most recently he tried to shock fellow Brazilians with an obscene and homophobic video of two men engaging in public sex acts.
During his tenure, former U.S. President Barack Obama also met with anti-LGBTQ world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as anti-gay politicians from Kenya.
But Obama’s record on queer rights made Americans more confident that he’d push for pro-LGBTQ policies abroad. Trump’s LGBTQ rights record, in comparison, is abysmal and corrosive.
Using HIV funds to detain immigrant children
Also this week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Arez told Congress that HHS plans on reallocating over $385 million from health programs addressing Alzheimer’s, cancer, HIV-prevention, childcare, refugee resettlement and other issues to pay for additional shelters for immigrant children detained at the southern U.S. border.
The images of children dwelling within cages at the border have illustrated Trump’s “zero tolerance” policies against undocumented immigration. Thousands of these children have allegedly been sexually abused while in detainment.
In a statement responding to HHS’ reallocation of funds, Democratic House Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut wrote, “We cannot continue to spend taxpayer dollars on the President’s manufactured crisis at the border, which is government-sanctioned child abuse… [The HHS is] robbing vital health and human services initiatives in order to pay for their failed policies.”
DeLauro serves as the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee’s health panel.