The transgender U-turn

Elisabetta Pulcini on Trump's reversal of healthcare protection for trans and non-binary people

Elisabetta Pulcini
22nd June 2020
Image: Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia
In a time of crisis, weak leaders seem to desperately seek consensus by turning on marginalized groups.

From the treatment of Muslims following 9/11, to the "law and order" narrative seeking to exploit "criminals", this is depressingly unsurprising. Today, transphobia is all the rage, and not only in America. It makes sense, then, that the Trump administration announced that it would reverse health protection for transgender and non-binary individuals.

Trump's disdain for the LGBTQ+ community is not surprising

It would not be far-fetched to assume that this latest human rights violation is the result of another of Trump’s outdated conceptions of the world. After all, the American President’s disdain for the LGBTQ+ community does not come as a surprise. Both on the campaign trail and during his presidency, he has taken countless steps to continuously undermine the efforts of equality taken by his predecessor. One of his most infamous decisions was to ban transgender people from being able to serve in the military. As is standard practice for Trump, it was announced in a tweet. This essentially undid the Obama administration policy to let transgender people serve openly in the military, spitting in the face of transgender veterans' service.

Trump's transphobia was obvious before he was elected

This exhibition of transparent transphobia could have been predicted even before he was elected, just by viewing his choice of Vice President. From believing that sexuality is a choice to suggesting that HIV/AIDS funding should only be provided to conversion camps, Mike Pence is a textbook homophobe. It would not be surprising for these views to influence or be outright shared by the President himself.

The decision was a ploy to gain favour amongst Republicans

However, to say that this move was the result of the Trump administration's well-documented transphobia is reductive. The disaster that has been 2020 has exposed the incompetency of this administration even to those who, inconceivably, did not perceive it earlier. This decision was probably motivated by a desire to gain the favour of the Republican party. In fact, although the proportion of Americans that supports trans rights has grown, hitting 62% in 2019, the GOP platform still supports Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ moves. This is clearly a ploy to gain the favour of the party so close to the 2020 re-election campaign. After all, as demonstrated by the catastrophic 2016 result, Trump does not need to win over the majority. He just needs to win over the electoral college.

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AUTHOR: Elisabetta Pulcini
Film Editor 19/20 and Law (LLB) graduate. An Italian passionate about journalism and the law: always up for a debate. @ElisabettaPul

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