Does the Trump Admin Really Want to Deny Transpeople Healthcare?

The Affordable Care Act prohibits healthcare providers—doctors and hospitals—from discriminating on the basis of sex. An Obama-era policy interpreted “sex” to include gender identity. Now, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services has proposed rolling back that interpretation.

LGBTQ advocates say that doing so will open the door to discrimination against transgender men and women by healthcare providers. So why would the Trump administration do this, unless they just hate LBGTQ people? That, in effect, is the narrative in most mainstream liberal media.

The two sides see each other’s views through their own lenses, of course. “It’s clear his administration wants to return to a time when discrimination against women and anyone who faces gender discrimination in healthcare went unchecked,” said the National Women’s Law Center. Likewise, Pride at Work issued an alert that read:

“Like every bully, this president attacks those he perceives as weak and least able to defend themselves. What this bully misunderstands is that transpeople aren’t facing this administration alone. Pride at Work and countless other organizations and institutions are here to stand with, for, and beside our transgender siblings in the face of these unrelenting attacks from this administration.”

But as advocates for religiously affiliated, generally Catholic hospitals have pointed out, they have come under pressure to proscribe puberty blockers to pre-adolescent children, and to perform gender realignment procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs, just as being required to perform abortions not necessitated by the mother’s health would.

These fears are not just theoretical. In New Jersey and in California, Catholic hospitals have been sued by transwomen for refusing to perform hysterectomies as the initial step in gender realignment.

Another argument against the Obama-era policy is that bureaucrats shouldn’t reinterpret statute so broadly as to go well beyond Congress’s intent. “When Congress prohibited discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” said the HHS Office of Civil Rights.

Because this issue involves healthcare, which can be a matter of life and death, partisans are in full throttle. But not all healthcare is emergency treatment, and so far LGBTQ advocates, despite their heated rhetoric, haven’t shown that transpeople face discrimination by doctors and hospitals that puts them at risk, as opposed to the inconvenience of going for reassignment treatment at facilities that are not religiously affiliated.

A Better Way

LGBTQ activists who say we need the Equality Act to end discrimination refuse to agree to a bill that would protect the conscience rights of religious traditionalists not to be forced to engage in messaging and creative activities that violate their faith. It’s not a big compromise; it’s a win-win. But somehow the activists and their progressive representatives don’t seem to be actually interested in winning (other than winning re-election for themselves and their party by keeping the issue unresolved, election after election).

Worth repeating:


The Equality Act Builds ‘LGBTQ Rights’ on the Oppression of Others

Way Beyond Discrimination

The bill does not simply extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If only! As even the Blade reports, it greatly expands the act’s definition of public accommodations well beyond the original intent, and limits use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense against state coercion to violate religious belief. Not to mention that it defines gender identity as based on presentation, not physical alteration and legally changed gender status.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” an administration official told the Blade.

But already, news reports are saying that the Trump administration favors discrimination by not supporting this awful bill.

More. On Nov. 7, 2013, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would have prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, without the overreaching leftwing grab-bag of The Equality Act, passed the Senate with bipartisan support by a vote of 64–32. All Senate Democrats joined 10 Senate Republicans to approve the bill. The GOP-controlled House never voted on the measure.

It’s also true that during the first two years of the Obama administration (2009-10), when Democrats had majorities in both the House and the Senate that enabled them to pass Obamacare, they chose not to move the bill, even when it seemed plausible the GOP would retake the House. Instead, as with immigration, they decided to run on the issue yet again.

The New Culture Wars

Transgenderism has transformed what used to be the fight for gay and lesbian legal equality. Now, it’s something very different.

Every time the old Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was poised to pass Congress, activists and Democratic sponsors changed it so it couldn’t win majority support. First it was a bill to outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and once that had enough Republican support to pass, it was changed to include gender identity, which didn’t. The Equality Act is ENDA on steroids, vastly expanding the scope of “public accommodations” to include creative-services providers (such as bakers and wedding photographers), gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and requiring that bio males who chose to “present” as female (no physical alteration required) be treated as women in all areas, including the right to compete as women in sporting competitions.

The GOP-led Senate won’t pass the Equality Act, and rightly so. But Democrats and LGBT progressive will say it’s because Republicans don’t oppose employment discrimination, as if it were the original ENDA.

SCOTUS to Rule on LBGT Discrimination

As I noted in a prior post, it would be preferable if the Supreme Court ruled that existing sex discrimination laws covered sexual orientation and gender transition (perhaps unlikely, post-Kennedy) than if Congress were to pass the sweeping Equality Act, with its greatly expanded definition of public accommodations to include small creative-services providers and its crippling of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—not to mention defining “sex” as gender presentation without any pretense about physical transitioning (meaning bio-males in women’s locker rooms and sporting competitions, based on their identity “presentation”).

If the Supreme Court were to expand existing Title VII civil rights protections to gay and transgender people, Democrats and LGBT intersectional progressives would still try to pass the Equality Act—but they’d have to do so arguing in favor of its more extreme provisions instead of presenting it as a jobs discrimination bill.

They’re for ‘Free Speech’ Unless They Don’t Like It

The Advocate reports:

“Following an online outcry and protest threats, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center canceled an event — billed as the #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall — that was to feature controversial queer conservatives and encourage LGBTQ people to “walk away” from the Democratic Party.”

The Center issued this Orwellian statement:

“We strongly oppose censorship and fully stand by our commitment to free speech, but as our space use policy states, we reserve the right to cancel any event that promotes discriminatory speech or bigotry; negatively impacts other groups or individuals that use The Center; or conflicts with, or interferes with, Center-sponsored or produced programming. It has become clear that this event would violate all of these important policies.”

So, the Center won’t allow a conservative LGBTQ group to use its space because they oppose the agenda of LGBTQ Democratic groups. But those groups routinely rip into LGBTQ Rebpuplicans and conservatives, and that’s just fine.

As instapundit Glenn Reynolds likes to say, if it weren’t for their double standards, progressives would have no standards at all.

More. Over the years, the Center has received considerable funding from both New York City and State taxpayers.

The Equality Act Targets Service Providers


“And while the Equality Act doesn’t alter the exceptions in the Civil Rights Act for religious organizations, it specifically notes that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 cannot be invoked as a defense for discriminating under these laws.”

In other words, courts can consider the “discrimination” of a LGBT activist being told “Sorry, I don’t want to decorate a cake with a same-sex couple because it’s against my religion but they’d be happy to bake you one next store,” but won’t be able to consider the religious freedom rights of the service provider with regard to the protections provided under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

RFRA requires that the authorities meet the high standard of showing that the government has a compelling interest to justify infringing on religious freedom when enforcing federal law. If stripping defendants of RFRA protections in these cases wasn’t a big deal—that is, if it were obvious that compelling service providers to craft messages in support of same-sex marriage or gender transitions clearly trumped any rights to religious protection—why would progressives be insisting on a RFRA exclusion?

More. In the comments to an earlier post, reader “Sebastian” wrote a response to the argument that conservative Christians have had a long record of working to deny LGBTQ people their legal rights, replying that:

Your identity is so bound up with being “the victim” that you’re unable to see that, in this situation, you’re now the oppressor. It reminds me of the communists who were persecuted and then took power and persecuted those who were of the class that had persecuted them. They couldn’t see that they were now the oppressor — they had no mental picture in which it was conceivable to them that good communists, who had been targeted and persecuted all of their adult lives, could now be the oppressor.

I think that’s spot on. When I hear the argument that we must force bakers to craft same-sex wedding cakes in order to “stop their hate”—as, for instance, a recent episode of Will & Grace reiterated the “need to struggle” against the “haters” who won’t bake same-sex cakes—it seems clear that LGBTQ activists (and those who go to court to force religious conservatives to craft supportive messages are by definition “activists”) have no mental template in which it’s possible to consider that they themselves have become the persecutors.