Here’s what you need to know about a new proposed HHS rule announced last week

On November 1, the Trump Administration announced that it would no longer enforce existing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that prohibit discrimination in HHS-funded programs based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, and religion. The administration also announced that HHS-funded programs would no longer be required to recognize marriages of same-sex couples. In addition, it put forward a new rule that would allow most programs receiving HHS grants to discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. This proposed rule and the administration’s notice that they are suspending enforcement of existing nondiscrimination provisions will have widespread and devastating consequences.

This means federally funded programs and agencies could, for example, deny services to foster youth, refuse admission to shelters, deny children homes with prospective foster or adoptive families, shut out families seeking emergency services, and more. Those who receive government funding wouldn’t even have to justify their discrimination: the Trump administration would simply allow them to do it, no questions asked.

HHS awards more than $527 billion of taxpayer dollars in grants and contracts each year. This dangerous rule would impact the ability of millions of people to access and receive services from billions of dollars of programs ranging from adoption and foster care services for children, family preservation services, STI and HIV testing and prevention programs, Head Start programs, supportive housing services, reproductive health care, and much more. For example:

  • Head Start grant recipients and other federally funded child care facilities could refuse to serve children with married same-sex parents or provide services to a transgender youth
  • Meals on Wheels and other community meal programs designed to support older adults could refuse to deliver food to older Americans who are Jewish, Muslim, or LGBTQ
  • Adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funding could keep children in government care rather than allow them to be adopted by qualified same-sex couples or families with different religious beliefs from the agency

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to advance discrimination and harm vulnerable children in foster care, older adults, those at risk for HIV, and more. The rule is the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to undermine civil rights protections and harm people served by government-funded programs.

MAP, in partnership with other organizations like the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, and others, will continue to provide more information about what this proposed rule – and the notice of nonenforcement – means for the programs that millions of people count on.

BiWeek 2019

This week (September 16-23) is #BiWeek 2019! This is a week to celebrate the B in LGBT and to raise up the voices and experiences of bisexual people.

Despite a growing understanding and acceptance of the LGBT community and increased legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the experiences and realities of bisexual people has largely been invisible. Did you know bisexual people comprise about half (52%) of LGB people in the United States? Did you also know that violence, poverty, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health outcomes within the bisexual population are often at rates higher than their lesbian and gay peers?

Far too often, bisexual people are frequently swept into the greater lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community, as their specific disparities are made invisible within data about the LGB community as a whole. That’s why, in 2016, MAP released a groundbreaking report Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them, which focuses on the “invisible majority” of the LGBT community: dvthe nearly five million adults in the U.S. who identify as bisexual and the millions more who have sexual or romantic attraction to or contact with people of more than one gender.

Since then, MAP has released additional reports looking at bisexual older adults, bisexual transgender people and more. For #BiWeek 2019, check out MAP’s resources that provide an overview into the lives of bisexual people, including an introduction to the issues facing bisexual people.

Understanding Issues Facing LGBT People in the U.S.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, MAP, in partnership with the Center for American Progress, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign, is releasing an updated edition of Understanding Issues Facing LGBT People in the U.S. Led by transgender women, drag queens, homeless LGBT teens, lesbians, gay men, and allies, many of whom were people of color, the Stonewall Riots, which came in response to an early morning police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City targeting LGBT people, were a key turning point in the fight for LGBT equality in the United States.    

Fifty years later, much has been accomplished, yet much still remains to be done. The landmark marriage equality ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 2015 allowed same-sex couples to marry nationwide, yet the federal government is arguing that employers should be allowed to legally fire LGBT people, and that adoption agencies should be able to keep kids in foster care rather than allow them to be adopted by qualified, loving, same-sex parents.   

This primer highlights the major areas in which equality as advanced for LGBT people, as well as the continued legal barriers to fully participating in American life. It is no longer a crime to be gay, yet many LGBT people still experience discrimination when simply going about their daily lives—whether eating at a diner with their families or friends, trying to obtain safe and inclusive healthcare, or interacting with the criminal justice system. Just last month, MAP released a new map showing which states ban the use of so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in court. These defenses are legal strategies in which a person who has committed a violent crime against an LGBT person will claim that the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity caused the attacker to commit the crime. 

As we honor the passion and activism of those at Stonewall 50 years ago and those who continue to fight for full equality to this day, MAP is fully committed to ensuring that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.  

Here are a few ways you can take action: