The Trump administration is erasing transgender people from government websites

Donald Trump said that he would be "better for the gay community" during the campaign, but his Justice Department is arguing against progress in LGBT rights made during the Obama Administration.
Donald Trump said that he would be "better for the gay community" during the campaign, but his Justice Department is arguing against progress in LGBT rights made during the Obama Administration. Photo: Associated Press

Researchers charged with keeping track of changes on government websites have uncovered clear issues in the language used by the Trump Administration.

According to the Web Integrity Project (WIP), 57 percent of LGBTQ-related government sites “had significant alterations to LGBTQ-related terms,” while the rest have mostly been untouched by the administration.

Related: Here are all the times the Trump administration has attacked LGBTQ rights since he became President

Inclusive material was erased hours after Trump’s inauguration from the White House website and other Obama-era pages aimed at the LGBTQ community. In 2018, the HHS erased health information for gay and bisexual women.

The Sunlight Foundation, which oversees the Web Integrity Project, has been working to notify the public about changes that occur on America’s websites when they’re not related to actual policy change.

“Our examination of key case studies…identified two key trends: the removal of access to resources about discrimination protections and prevention, especially for transgender individuals, [and] the removal of resources containing LGBTQ community-specific information,” the foundation wrote in review.

Rachel Bergman, the co-director of WIP, told The Daily Beast in 2018 that “We’ve seen a general reduction in the prominence of LGBT content across Health, Labor, Education, Housing—even the White House itself…this is definitely a signal that LGBT concerns have been significantly de-prioritized and, in the worst cases, they’re actively being undermined.”

WIP’s latest report provides further evidence that the administration is not only overlooking LGBTQ people in general, but at times completely erasing the mention of transgender people altogether.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website replaced ‘LGBTQ’ with ‘LGB’ on pages about queer youth and deleted transgender statistics from multiple Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “largely abandoned identity language, with a 40% dip in use of the term ‘transgender’ and a 25% dip in ‘gender,’ in favor of religious-freedom terminology.”

The Department of Labor “removed pages about and references to an Obama-era executive order, EO 13672, that protects federal contractors from discrimination based on gender identity,” although the law is still in effect.

Other notable cases of gender identity bias in the administration’s online presence include the removal of transgender student rights content from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights website, and the decision that the Fair Housing Act doesn’t protect people from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion within HHS also lowered the listed goal for states that ask gender-inclusive questions, previously seeking “total inclusion” but now boasting a “10% improvement.”

Sunlight does note that the administration overall uses the words “transgender” and “gender” more but the term “sex” less, seemingly separating transgender people from where the previous discrimination policies’ language, may have protected them.

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