In the middle of Pride Month and on the fourth anniversary of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting — which killed 49 people from the LGBTQ community in 2016 — the Trump administration just made it easier for healthcare providers to deny service to transgender individuals with a new rule.
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services revealed it would narrow Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that bans discrimination "on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability" in health programs and centers, and remove gender identity from the list. Therefore, sex discrimination will only be enforced based on an individual's biology.
Understandably, the news sparked outrage among politicians, celebrities, and LGBTQ organizations alike. GLAAD called the new regulation "shameful, unnecessary, and unfortunately unsurprising."
This ruling encourages discrimination by stripping protections from LGBTQ people, disabled people, and others during a pandemic that threatens the most vulnerable. It is shameful, unnecessary, and unfortunately unsurprising.
— GLAAD (@glaad) June 12, 2020
The administration's new #1557 rule tries to erase protections for #transgender people from discrimination. This sends a dangerous and confusing message to healthcare providers at the worst time. Access to quality healthcare without discrimination has never been more important. pic.twitter.com/N1Qv7gsHZV
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) June 12, 2020
Meanwhile, democratic nominee Joe Biden and senator Kamala Harris both agreed that Trump's "cruelty knows no bounds."
The callousness of Trump to announce this during LGBTQ+ Pride month as the country mourns the four year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The cruelty is the point and it knows no bounds.
We will fight this. https://t.co/oi8XpPAbXb
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 12, 2020
On the fourth anniversary of Pulse.
In the middle of Pride month.
During a global pandemic.
Donald Trump's cruelty truly knows no bounds. We have to defeat him this November. https://t.co/YAy4ZGxxyD
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 13, 2020
In the middle of a pandemic, the President wants to strip away health care & risk LGBTQ+ Americans' lives to pander to right-wing ideologues. This is hateful & wrong. Trump must protect LGBTQ+ rights, and if he won't, the Senate must act. https://t.co/hHIA53PZc8
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 13, 2020
Celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Gabrielle Union, and Ellen DeGeneres also viewed the announcement as unacceptable.
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) June 12, 2020
This is appalling. Please make sure you’re registered to vote in November. https://t.co/p3s5D5BL7Q
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) June 12, 2020
Ariana’s Instagram Story (June 12) pic.twitter.com/iaBgfspaA3
— Ariana Grande Today (@ArianaToday) June 12, 2020
The rule will go into effect in mid-August, but the Human Rights Campaign plans to take legal action against the Trump administration beforehand.
“LGBTQ people get sick. LGBTQ people need health care. LGBTQ people should not live in fear that they cannot get the care they need simply because of who they are," a statement read. "It is clear that this administration does not believe that LGBTQ people, or other marginalized communities, deserve equality under the law. But we have a reality check for them: we will not let this attack on our basic right to be free from discrimination in health care go unchallenged."