From TLC executive director Kris Hayashi:
Last week, as the House of Representatives passed President Trump’s dangerous bill undermining the Affordable Care Act, the President signed a so-called “religious liberty” Executive Order that attempts to chip away at the Constitution’s separation of church and state and encourages government agencies to discriminate.
Since taking office, this administration has shamefully and often illegally launched attack after attack singling communities out for discrimination because of their race, religion, gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation. Although last week’s Executive Order and the President’s health care bill do not specifically mention transgender people, make no mistake: these actions and the message they send will cost lives in our community.
The White House is systematically breaking down the protections that make it possible for people like me, a transgender man of color, to survive and thrive. With this executive order, the administration invited government agencies to discriminate, and attacked the preventative care – including contraception – that transgender people, like so many people in this country, rely on.
Everyone needs health care. For transgender people who experience dramatic rates of discrimination in all areas of life, these attacks on our health care are absolutely attacks on our survival. Transgender Law Center’s Positively Trans survey, for example, found a clear link between access to health care and viral suppression for transgender people living with HIV. It is no surprise that the South, where most states have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, has the most alarming numbers for both insurance coverage – with 30 percent of our respondents uninsured – and lack of viral suppression. The actions of this administration are a death sentence for many in our community.
The Executive Order may also have a devastating impact on transgender and gender nonconforming immigrants who already live at the margins. Practically, religiously affiliated nonprofit agencies serving immigrant communities may feel emboldened to stop providing services to transgender and gender nonconforming immigrants.
TLC is committed to the full liberation of all trans and gender nonconforming people across the country. Rest assured, our fight continues.