"For eight years, the Obama administration approached LGBT people with one fundamental question driving their work: What are the ways in which LGBT people are treated unequally, and how can the administration address their needs? That was true from day one. For the first few years of the administration, many LGBT voices decried the slow pace of progress and criticized the President for the lateness with which he supported marriage equality. Their impatience was justified, but the fact is that the administration worked energetically from the moment they arrived. Serious public policy development takes time, and while there were some issues on which the President was slow -- his embrace of marriage equality, and an executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors, for example -- other issues moved forward quickly and had a real impact on the ground.
By the end of his eight-year tenure in office, the President had fundamentally transformed the relationship of LGBT people with our national government. The policy advances are far too numerous to list -- from protections for transgender health under HHS regulations and the ACA to anti-discrimination protections for LGBT residents of HUD subsidized housing, from hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners and spouses to fully equal treatment for same-sex partners of foreign service professionals deployed abroad, from inclusion in the census questionnaire and data collection to inclusion in the U.S. military as fully equal participants, and on and on. Beyond the catalog of individual advances in law and policy, as important as every advance was, there was a change in tone and expectation. We were seen. We were heard. We were treated with conscious and enthusiastic respect. We had our humanity recognized with confidence, not as some duty to be fulfilled but as a genuine expression of the driving ethic of the administration.
We knew that the breathtaking progress of the last eight years was imperiled by this new administration. We knew that we would once again have to fight. In the face of the breezy and foolhardy assurances of people taken in by this grifter -- "He has said nice things about gay people. He put Peter Thiel on stage at the RNC. He held a rainbow flag one time." -- we adopted expressions of steel and began preparing for the struggle ahead. And that struggle was not long in coming.
Our government has been taken over by traitors, thugs and vandals who are destroying our patrimony and our national heritage as fast as their tiny grasping hands can reach it. The agenda of Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, and who knows how many other anti-LGBT extremists is unfolding like a coiled snake. This week they are erasing us from the census, gutting requirements that federal contractors disclose any record of discrimination against LGBT people and other vulnerable groups, and decimating NIH funding for the PEPFAR global initiative on AIDS / HIV. One month ago, they eliminated the DOJ / DOE guidance for Title IX and deprived transgender students of safety and protection. It is a brutal, unrelenting march backward into a swamp of discrimination and second-class citizenship. As Kate Kendell aptly said, they are "like a fast-moving car stuck in reverse . . . , intent on chipping away at critical protections for LGBT and other vulnerable communities -- taking our rights and our country backward."
And we are not going to stand for it. You are coming after our families, our loves, and our equal citizenship, you bastards. We will fight you. And we will win."