Monday, March 27, 2017

Trump Picks Anti-LGBTQ Homophobe To Head Civil Rights Office Because Of Course He Did

Sometime over the last few days Donald Trump quietly appointed a former conservative think-tank staffer, Roger Severino, to head the Civil Rights Office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The appointment was so under the radar that an HHS spokesperson would not say when exactly Severino was appointed to the position.

This appointment on the down low is understandable when Severino's past record is looked at.

Severino, previously the Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society for the Heritage Foundation, has in the past argued not only that same-sex marriage threatens religious liberty but that civil rights protections should not extend to the transgendered.

Severino even attacked President Obama for enforcing civil rights protections for the LGBTQ community, particularly in regards to transgender people.

Severino has also opposed protections for gender identity when it comes to healthcare.

While at the Heritage Foundation, he authored a report opposing the OCR’s implementation of a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as the 1557 rule, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in federally-funded health programs.

This is especially relevant since the civil rights office at HHS is tasked with making sure people have equal access to healthcare. The office does this in part by collecting complaints of discrimination, investigating them, and enforcing the rules.

If those views weren't already disqualifying enough, Severino is also vehemently opposed to letting transgendered people use bathrooms that corresponds with their gender identity claiming it would traumatize female sex abuse victims and be taken advantage of by men.

FACT CHECK: There is no evidence that gender-segregated restrooms are safer for women than gender neutral restrooms.

With good reason LGBTQ advocates fear Severino will undermine the civil rights protections the office is supposed to enforce.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, called the hire “appalling” in a statement.

Severino has not respond or commented on how he plans to ensure LGBTQ patients do not face discrimination.

This is yet another example of Trump and his administration appointing a person to head an agency that holds views that directly counter that of the agency they have just been appointed to.

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