Up to this point, I’ve not publicly passed any comment on the American Inauguration. However, I can’t stay quiet any longer. Within an hour of Donald Trump being sworn in as President, his administration has removed the LGBT rights page from the White House website.
If you travel over to www.whitehouse.gov/lgbt – a page where you could previously find information about LGBT rights under the Obama Administration – you will now find yourself redirected. Click it and see!
All previous content from the White House website, under Obama’s Presidency, has been migrated to the website www.obamawhitehouse.gov. Trump’s administration now working to populate the White House website under the new authority. Granted, much of the website is currently not populated and pages are empty. However, only a few – very concerning – pages have completely vanished. These are the LGBT rights page, the civil rights page, the healthcare page, and the climate change page. I think this is very telling.
Some observers of the website changes are suggesting that, perhaps, these pages will return. But, return with what changes? Trump has appeared to be very mixed in response to matters that fall under the LGBT rights term. He has previously spoken of being against same-sex marriage, and suggested he would consider overruling the right for this. On the other hand, he has seemed to be open to bathroom rights (allowing those who are transgender to use the bathroom congruent with their presenting gender, rather than that assigned at birth) – after famously saying Caitlyn Jenner was welcome to use the bathroom at this house, Trump Towers.
Trumps Vice President, Mike Pence, has also been opposed to expansions to LGBT civil rights.
Additionally, if you take a look at what happened when you searched ‘LGBT’ on day one of Obama’s administration, versus what happens if you do that today – well you can see the difference (right) for yourself! Trump’s team have had just as much time – from election to inauguration – as Obama’s team did. Plenty of opportunity to be prepared and have the website content ready.
So why is this relevant to mental health?
We already know that people who identify as LGBT are at an increased risk for experiencing mental health illness such as depression and anxiety. Furthermore, rates of suicide are among one of the highest. This is largely attributed to stigma, bullying and isolation.
Given that in recent times we have seen greater acceptance of LGBT rights – including same-sex marriages becoming enshrined in American constitution in June 2015 – it is hard for me to get my head around a regression in this. Quite frankly I don’t believe it is any business of the state what genitals a person has, or who a person chooses to have a sexual relationship with.
During the election one of the slogans to come from Hilary Clinton’s camp was ‘Love trumps Hate’, expressing that the love in society can overcome the hate in it, never seemed such an important concept. If America is to regress in this area it seems that ‘the people’ are left with the job of showing one another acceptance, compassion and support. A life is a life – and people should not have to suffer for a difference so irrelevant (to others) as sexual identity.
So, I apologise for posting twice in one day, but this one was an important one – and World events don’t stand still.