Graphic by Marco Pérez-Lorente
In April 2020, the Trump Administration moved to end regulations, passed during the Obama Administration, that bans healthcare discrimination based on sex and gender identity, a decision that “ddvocates fear… would allow hospitals and health workers to more easily discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation,” according to Politico. The decision particularly affects transgender patients, which the regulation covered under nondiscrimination protections for the first time, though a Bush-appointed judge issued a partial injunction against the rule in December 2018. The Trump Administration states that these rules were to some extent simply “abiding by the court order,” according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson in an interview with Politico, although regulator Roger Severino notably criticized the Obama-era nondiscrimination protections. The Trump Administration also proposed regulations which would roll back other, similar protections for LGBTQ patients in other regulations.
However, despite the global pandemic which dominates news coverage, this issue has received significant attention, both from the national, political media and national LGBTQ rights groups, and from members of the Las Lomas community.
Notably, Jillian Stuart, a sophomore at Las Lomas, circulated a petition which denounced the decision and called on various Democratic politicians to “Join us to protect and advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.” Stuart states that she came up with the idea when she “was on a FaceTime call with some friends and… talking about [and being frustrated with] the Trump Administration’s decision,” ultimately “[coming] “up with the idea to start a petition to not only raise awareness, but also start a public response large enough to catch politicians’ attention.” At the time of writing, 322 individuals have signed this petition and Stuart and her friends believe that “if it gains enough traction[,] it can start a conversation about LGBTQ+ protections and the lines between personal beliefs and basic human rights.”
However, Stuart stated that “it’s been hard to take other action besides the petition,” thanks to the state’s shelter-in-place order, so she believes that the best actions she can take are to circulate the petition and “spread awareness,” such as “repost[ing] articles or other information about the issue on my Instagram stories and [encouraging] others to spread and sign the petition.” Stuart also plans to “[reach] out to… Kamala Harris and Mark DeSaulnier,” amongst others, “to ask for their support for our cause.”