Kayleigh McEnany, Donald Trump’s new press secretary, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ statements, such as claiming that a lack of equal marriage rights was not discriminatory and that transgender-inclusive restroom policies would enable predatory behavior.

And on other issues, she has shown herself to be less than prescient, having said that Trump’s policies would keep the novel coronavirus from infecting people in the U.S.

McEnany, who has worked in Trump’s reelection campaign and as a CNN contributor, was named White House press secretary Tuesday, replacing Stephanie Grisham, who ended her short tenure without ever holding a media briefing. Grisham will return to Melania Trump’s staff. McEnany is the fourth person to hold the White House press secretary position during Trump’s presidency, following Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Grisham.

“Throughout her career, Kayleigh McEnany has used her role as a commentator to attack LGBTQ people through the press,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a prepared statement. “Whether it be her opposition to marriage equality or her attacks on transgender people, McEnany has shown that she knows how to, and even enjoys using the media to spread dangerous, anti-LGBTQ messages to wide audiences. Unfortunately, in her new role as press secretary, she will have the power to continue doing so, but now with the White House name attached to hers.”

GLAAD has compiled a list of McEnany’s most egregious anti-LGBTQ statements. In 2015, as the Supreme Court prepared to hear the Obergefell v. Hodges case on national marriage equality, she argued that the issue was not discrimination but the right of each state to define marriage.

“If you tune into the mainstream media, you will hear a lot of farcical blabber about state-sanctioned discrimination, but that is not what this case is about,” she wrote on a website called Political Prospect. “The case before the Supreme Court tomorrow is about something entirely different: the right of the state to define marriage, a right that has been in its constitutional domain since the inception of this republic.”

When the ruling came down on the side of marriage equality, she said it was a threat to religious freedom. She also praised Justice Antonin Scalia for a footnote in his dissent from the ruling, in which he said he would hide his head in a bag if he had to join such a decision.

In February 2017, when the Trump administration revoked guidance from President Obama’s tenure that advised schools to let transgender students use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity, she again argued for the right of each state to make policy, and she said that trans access could enable predators.

“The reason conservatives want this left up to the states,” she said on CNN, “is that I do believe there is a viable argument, not that transgender individuals pose any harm, but that this could be utilized by some men, for instance, to go into female bathrooms, it’s happened at Target, which does have the same policy in place. Voyeurism issues where cameras were put by men taking advantage of the policies, not transgender individuals, men, straight men coming in and really being a predator against women.”

That ignores the fact that whether or not a business, school, or other entity has a trans-inclusive policy in place, such behavior does occur and it is a crime. Several studies have found no increase in predatory behavior as a result of trans-friendly restroom policies.

Additionally, McEnany has argued that Vice President Mike Pence, despite his long history of anti-LGBTQ stances, is not a homophobe or transphobe. “Mike Pence loves all people,” she said on an appearance with gay CNN anchor Don Lemon in 2017.

She has made problematic statements about several other issues as well. In a 2013 article for The Blaze, a right-wing website, she claimed, “The feminists of today reduce women to their sexuality, and in doing so, set women’s rights back by huge strides.” And she has said that allowing women in combat is part of a “radical agenda.”

A very recent statement may come back to bite her. “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism come here, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?” she said February 25 on the Fox Business Network show Trish Regan Primetime.

“Since Ms. McEnany made that statement, about 400,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus,” The New York Times notes. Regan, by the way, left Fox Business soon afterward, having dismissed warnings about the COVID-19 outbreak as “another attempt to impeach the president.”

TRUMP, ALLIES OUT-OF-STEP WITH U.S. CATHOLIC VOTERS: Last week, Trump’s campaign announced its “Catholics for Trump” coalition -- elevating extremists and cementing Trump and his campaign as out of step with modern Catholic voters. U.S. Catholics are more likely to support LGBTQ rights than the average American largely due to Catholic values of inclusion and justice. More from HRC.

  • PRRI: 72% of white Catholics and 71% of Hispanic Catholics support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections versus 69% of all Americans
  • PRRI: 68% of Catholics describe themselves as “more supportive” of transgender rights versus 62% of all Americans

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND HRC CALL FOR STATEMENT ASSURING EQUAL TREATMENT AT FRANKLIN GRAHAM-BACKED COVID-19 FIELD HOSPITAL: “We call on Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse to issue a public statement assuring LGBTQ+ New Yorkers that they will receive equal treatment and respect at this operation. Mount Sinai Hospital, one of many medical centers undertaking the herculean task of caring for our city’s sick, and the City of New York must continue to closely monitor the field hospital to ensure the rights of all New Yorkers being treated at the facility,” reads a statement by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) (@RepEspaillat).

MONDAY MUST READ -- RACIAL DISPARITIES IN COVID-19 RESPONSE: The federal government is failing to address or even acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color and the LGBTQ community. Instead, they have limited access to health care by refusing to reopen the ACA exchanges and spouted untruth after untruth about the crisis. Trump, Pence and our entire federal government are failing us. “We may be waiting for a racial time bomb to explode with this disease,” writes Charles Blow (@CharlesMBlow) in The New York Times.

LGBTQ HELPLINES SEEING SURGE IN CALLS DURING COVID-19: More from Gay Star News.

  • HRC shared resources for struggling LGBTQ young people here.
  • Homeless LGBTQ youth are struggling to find shelter during quarantine: More from Chronicle of Social Change.
  • Casa Ruby (@CasaRubyDC), an LGBTQ community center in D.C., is fighting like hell to protect our community during COVID-19. More from Washington Blade.

COVID-19 STIMULUS PLAN EARMARKS $155 MILLION FOR HIV ORGANIZATIONS: More from The Advocate.

SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI) ON THE NEED FOR MORE LGBTQ ELECTED OFFICIALS: “This upward cycle of representation and leadership builds the foundation of a political pipeline. When supplemented with sufficient financial resources, this pipeline, at its best, ensures that those often left outside of the decision-making room have a viable path in,” writes Senator Baldwin (@tammybaldwin). “And right now, there is an urgent need for a strong, inclusive pipeline for LGBTQ people.” More from The New York Times.

IN THE STATES 

NEW YORK STATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES, INCLUDING LGBTQ PEOPLE, WHO ARE BUILDING THEIR FAMILIES: 

WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISC. WILL EXPAND ACCESS AND EASE OF ABSENTEE VOTING: “In the age of COVID-19, expanding access to absentee and mail-in voting is absolutely crucial to ensuring a safe and smooth voting process,” said HRC Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout. “[This] decision strengthens our democracy and opens the door for more participation in the Wisconsin Spring Election. The Human Rights Campaign applauds the court for its inclusive decision as well as civil rights groups and leaders across Wisconsin for their advocacy to remove barriers to safe voting across the state.” 

GLOBAL EQUALITY NEWS

GENDER-SEGREGATED QUARANTINES IN PANAMA AND PERU PUT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE AT RISK: More from Oscar Lopez (@oscarlopezgib) at Reuters.

READING RAINBOW - Bookmark now to read on your lunch break!

The Randy Report interviews Justin Utley (@JustinUtley), an LGBTQ musician; Book Riot highlights 15 books for middle schoolers with LGBTQ themes; WMFE looks at a show of local LGBTQ performers to raise funds for non-profits during COVID-19

Last month, the editors of the University of Idaho student paper The Argonaut came out against a bill working its way through the state legislature that would bar transgender women athletes from participating in women’s sporting events.

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” pertains to high school and college athletics and notes what should be obvious to those who claim to believe in science: that there are “inherent differences between men and women.”

Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law on Monday.

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” pertains to high school and college athletics and notes what should be obvious to those who claim to believe in science: that there are “inherent differences between men and women.”

Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law on Monday.

Because transgenders have a higher suicide rate than cisgender folk, the Argonaut editors worry the now-law will lead to an increase in the number of transgender deaths. “For every bill presented in regards to transgender rights,” they write, “suicide rates increase in the transgender community.”

The budding journalists go on to note that “whether or not a team wins or loses, human lives are more important than the biological sex of team members” … the translation being “who cares if biological females can’t compete, think of the possible consequences to their transgender counterparts.”

The Argonaut further compounds its absurdity by complaining the law would not apply to transgender men, making it “unfair” and “ultimately sexist.”

Safety of people is crucial as well as equality for all groups. The bill aims to prohibit special treatment of any group and keep the playing field equal, except it only limits transgender women from competing. The bill would not pertain to transgender men, leaving room to question if this bill is fair […]

We must consider communities that are going to be affected and how they are going to be affected. Idaho citizens should be concerned about the impact of this bill and those with an opinion need to make it heard.

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news for the editors: The US Department of Justice has the same view as Governor Little, having sided with the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The CIAC (currently) allows transgender women to compete with their biologically female peers.

Four major employers have joined the more than 40 major employers that have signed an open letter calling for lawmakers to oppose state bills targeting LGBTQ people.

Chobani, GoDaddy, Hewlett Packard Inc. and Verizon signed the letter stressing the importance of fairness and opportunity for their customers, employees, and employees’ families.

“We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals—many specifically targeting transgender youth—for exclusion or differential treatment,” the letter reads. “Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LGBTQ population.”

The letter, which was released by American Competes (a program for Freedom for All Americans) and the Human Rights Campaign, was written as a reaction to states like Idaho introducing or passing legislation banning transgender girls from high school sports.

“Businesses succeed when they are innovative, welcoming, and open to all,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Harmful legislation—especially the torrent of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country—deeply affect businesses’ ability to recruit and provide opportunities to their customers and employees.”

Transgender people whose identity documents match their gender identity have better mental health than those whose IDs do not match, according to a study by Drexel University researchers.

The study, which analyzed 22,286 responses to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, is the first in the country to examine the relationship between IDs and mental health. It was published in the Lancet Public Health Journal this month.

Among transgender people whose IDs did not match their gender presentation, a third experienced being denied access to services, harassment, or violence, or all three. IDs are required to access health care, housing, education, employment, immigration, travel, security clearances, social service applications and many more services and resources.

“Many people take for granted having identity documents that they can use in daily life without thinking about it too much,” said Ayden Scheim, an assistant professor in epidemiology and biostatistics in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel and the lead author of the paper. “For trans people, if their ID conflicts with how they identify, they can be outed and subjected to stigma and discrimination.”

 

According to the survey, only 11% of transgender people in the United States have their preferred name and gender marker on all of their IDs and official records. That group experienced a 32% reduction in serious psychological distress and a 22% to 25% reduction in suicidal ideation and suicide planning when compared with the group whose IDs did not match their gender.

The requirements for name and gender changes on IDs vary by state, but most require a court-ordered name change. To begin the process, many states require medical letters or proof of gender-affirming surgeries, which can be a big obstacle to some transgender folks. In Pennsylvania, people must submit a letter from their physician stating that they have had clinical treatment for gender transition in order to change the gender marker on a birth certificate.

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