Yes, the shirt is real

By Penny Robo

The Trump Administration has gone full bore on anti-LGBT initiatives, and trans people are feeling the bulk of it. Beyond the recent installation of a new version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that specifically targets trans members of the military (for literally no reason), a slew of new efforts are also taking shape. A recently unveiled HUD proposal says that state-funded shelters should be permitted to deny entry to trans people. The language is a bit more obtuse, but it’s clear enough, as seen below (emphasis mine):

This proposed rule provides that grant recipients, subrecipients, owners, operators, managers, and providers (Shelter Providers) under HUD programs which permit single-sex or sex-segregated facilities (such as bathrooms or temporary, emergency shelters and other buildings and facilities with physical limitations or configurations that require and are permitted to have shared sleeping quarters or bathing facilities) may establish a policy, consistent with state and local law, by which such Shelter Provider considers an individual’s sex for the purposes of determining accommodation within such shelters and for purposes of determining sex for admission to any facility or portion thereof. The proposed rule permits Shelter Providers to consider a range of factors in making such determinations, including privacy, safety, practical concerns, religious beliefs, any relevant considerations under civil rights and nondiscrimination authorities , the individual’s sex as reflected in official government documents, as well as the gender which a person identifies with. The proposed rule does not dictate a required basis for making determinations other than that they be consistent with an overall policy.

The final line is the icing on the cake…

“The proposed rule continues HUD’s policy of ensuring that its programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Permitting a state-funded organization to refuse service to someone using their gender identity as the basis of said refusal is, obviously enough, doing the exact opposite of ensuring that someone’s gender identity can’t be used to deny access to a service. Like, super duper obviously. As in there is absolutely no way someone could possibly make that claim unless they had simply failed to read to preceding text; it’s impossible to twist your brain into a complicated enough pretzel to make that work.

The inclusion of language that makes it clear that there is to be no outside standard or justification for any decisions that they make, only that their turning away people of a certain ilk be internally consistent, is a bizarre avoidance of anything resembling accountability for the results of the actions they’ve now permitted.

The very next day (!) another proposal was offered, this time by the Department of Health and Human Services that would specifically alter the ACA’s definition of “sex” to keep trans people from being covered. Why? Maybe because the people in charge of these proposals are assholes? This would be a rollback of a protection that was explicitly added because of rampant discrimination; this isn’t an ideological statement, unless the ideology on display is intended to be  “I wish to directly cause harm to vulnerable people”

The kicker to all of this for the man who refuses to acknowledge Pride Month? The “punchline” to the running joke that is the Trump administration’s continuous and demonstrably illogical/cruel/purposeless attack? He just started selling… these.

LGBTQ for Trump” t-shirts, complete with rainbow backdrop. That’s not a tasteless image manip or bit of satirical comedy. That’s a real product, hawked by the same man who has determined trans people to be a bigger threat to our country than climate change, poverty, or election hacking.


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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender sociology, public health, psychiatry, history of medicine, cognitive science, the social processes of science, transgender feminism, and human rights, taking an analytic approach that intersects these many perspectives and is guided by the lived experiences of transgender people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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