The Trump administration just removed “sexual orientation” from anti-discrimination guidelines for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
DOI spokesperson Carol Danko claims that the LGBTQ protections were deleted because they’re already covered under federal civil rights law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, HuffPost reports.
“Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under Title VII the term ‘sex’ includes gender, gender identity, transgender status, sexual orientation and pregnancy,” Danko said. She added that any concern over the deletions is “a non-story seeking controversy where none exists.”
However, this reasoning runs contrary to the Trump administration’s arguments in multiple Supreme Court cases. In those cases, the Department of Justice argued that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity and that LGBTQ workplace discrimination is therefore legal.
The Trump administration has a long history of erasure and inconsistency when it comes to the LGBTQ community. Minutes after Trump was sworn into office in 2016, LGBTQ content was deleted from the White House, State Department, and Labor Department websites, according to GLAAD.
NBC OUT reports that the General Services Administration removed sexual orientation and gender identity from its discrimination statement in November 2017. The Department of Commerce also removed sexual orientation and gender identity from its equal employment policy in 2017, but reinstated it after public backlash.
These edits don’t impact the legal rights of LGBTQ federal employees, but they could lead to more workplace discrimination.
“Removing these protections sends a dangerous signal to workers and supervisors that non-discrimination protections are no longer a priority,” Robin Maril, associate legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, explained.
The Trump administration has also proved hostile in other, more blatant ways. For example, Trump enacted a policy to ban trans people from serving in the military. Another policy proposal would allow adoption agencies to exclude LGBTQ parents.