RELEASE: In the Face of Hostile Trump, CAP Report Looks to Empower Local, County Leaders on LGBTQ Equality

Washington D.C. — In the face of President Donald Trump’s extreme actions that threaten lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, the Center for American Progress is releasing a comprehensive report to empower local leaders to make a difference in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBTQ, people and families. The comprehensive report provides a broad menu of options for nonlegislative actions that local government executives can enact to better protect, serve, and include their LGBTQ residents. The report also highlights cities and states that have executed similar policies.

The report includes recommendations across a range of issues that city and county officials have control over, including public employment, health care, provision of social services, and community engagement activities. Localities featured in the report show the diversity of local governments that have taken steps to advance LGBTQ equality across city size, geographic region, and social climates.

The report comes on the heels of Trump’s hostile actions that will continue to affect the LGBTQ community for years to come. These actions include Trump’s order to ban transgender individuals from the military, his pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio—widely known for civil rights abuses against Latinos in Arizona—on Friday, and his refusal earlier this month to denounce white nationalism in Charlottesville.

“August has been punctuated with extraordinarily hostile actions from the Trump administration, all acutely affecting the LGBTQ community. City and county executives have a unique and important responsibility to counter these retrograde policies and attitudes from the White House and help LGBTQ residents achieve full legal and lived equality. While the White House tries to take us back, CAP’s report will help policymakers take steps forward,” said Laura E. Durso, vice president of LGBT Research and Communications Project at CAP.

“The City of South Bend has taken many measures to ensure that our city is inclusive to LGBTQ individuals. We established an LGBTQ-inclusive equal employment opportunity nondiscrimination policy extending to all services, activities, and programs in compliance with local, county, state, and federal law. Mandatory trainings for city leaders and supervisors are LGBTQ-inclusive, and the city’s diversity and inclusion officer is a liaison with my office. South Bend realizes the value of empowering our LGBTQ community, and I encourage other local leaders to take action to advance equality for all,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, which is featured in CAP’s report.

“The City of Richmond is proud to be a national leader in building an inclusive city for our LGBTQ residents and serving as an example of how municipalities can enact real change at the local level. We stand firmly behind the nondiscrimination protections in our city and continually look for new ways to create a welcoming climate,” said Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia, “CAP’s report shows the range of ideas available to meet the needs of this population and how to put them into action. The new report will serve as an excellent resource to cities and municipalities—no matter what size or which corner of our country—to push for equality in our neighborhoods, both big and small.”

 The report outlines several categories with recommendations for local action including:

  • Issue nondiscrimination protections for city and county employees and in public services
  • Prevent discrimination and expand opportunities through grants and contract
  • Protect minors from harmful conversion therapy practices
  • Promote LGBTQ-inclusive data collection practices
  • Establish LGBTQ liaisons, commissions, and advisory boards

Also included are recommendations to promote cultural competency trainings across departments and for contracted staff, combat bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students, ways to welcome and support LGBTQ immigrants, and proposals to address homelessness and housing instability among LGBTQ youth.

Click here to read “Advancing LGBTQ Equality Through Local Executive Action,” by Laura E. Durso and others.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 240-899-9436.