Internet rumors ran amok when multiple White House pages disappeared on inauguration day. The previous administration’s information on LGBTQ rights, climate change, civil rights and other issues were seemingly taken down. In reality, the pages were moved to a different URL, ObamaWhiteHouse.gov, but their absence from the official White House site is no less alarming.
The absence of a current page on LGBTQ rights may signal serious concern to qnotes’ readers. After the historic strides forward in the past eight years — nationwide marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, among others — just what is the risk with the incoming administration?
The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen wrote at length about the risks to LGBTQ Americans under the new president and, especially, his blatantly anti-LGBTQ cabinet.
“Pro-LGBT protections enacted through executive orders — like anti-discrimination protections for federal contractors — could be quickly and easily eliminated,” Allen suggested. “Undoing marriage equality would be an ordeal…but it’s still possible if President Trump follows through on his Supreme Court picks and the right cases come along.”
The website controversy seems to bring all of these hypothetical scenarios into the realm of possibility. After all, the previous administration’s page on LGBTQ rights might have just been updated to reflect the new president’s views. Trump himself has spoken moderately on LGBTQ issues, despite his horrifically anti-LGBTQ vice president and cabinet. But instead of an update, the page was entirely removed and placed at a different URL. Does this inspire hope, or fear?
The issues that do appear on the official WhiteHouse.gov site are consistent with Trump’s campaign promises. The president is still steadfast in his conviction to build a border wall, and one page titled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community” asserts that “the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong.” There is no mention on the page of taking measures to reduce police-involved fatalities or prevent police brutality.
Another priority is to remain “committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.” These policies were implemented under President Barack Obama, and aimed at reducing the nation’s carbon footprint, fighting climate change. Trump’s opposition to regulations like these may spell disaster for the environment, even if they temporarily benefit the economy.
With these issues standing front and center, progressive Americans are quaking in their seats. Not only is the new administration actively negating the strides of the past eight years, but it’s also ignoring key issues like racial and LGBTQ equality. Civil rights, to Mr. Trump, are a nonissue.
Not so to the majority of Americans. The Women’s Marches held all over the world on Jan. 21 proved that. The central march on Washington, D.C. alone had over 500,000 people of all genders, colors and creeds in attendance — three times the number that attended the new president’s inauguration the day before.
Whatever issues that the Trump administration wants to ignore, the American people are responsible for making them a priority. LGBTQ progress, for one, is at risk not only through the absence of a webpage, but through the documented policies and attitudes of Trump’s cabinet. Vice President Mike Pence is well known for supporting conversion therapy, and in 2015 signed a “religious liberty” bill that allowed business owners to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. The rest of the presidential cabinet is no better.
The White House website alone isn’t the problem. Social media activism isn’t the solution.