Trump Admin Selects Anti-Transgender Activist to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week President Trump’s administration quietly appointed Roger Severino, a longtime opponent of transgender equality, as the head of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Severino formerly ran the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, an anti-LGBT think tank and lobbying group. He has long opposed equal treatment for transgender people in health care, military service, and access to public services, calling transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections a “radical social experiment.” He opposes the portion of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. He has claimed: “The radical left is using government power to coerce everyone, including children, into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology over and above their right to privacy, safety, and religious freedom.”

“Roger Severino has a proven track record of opposing fair and equal treatment for the transgender community,” said Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans. “He is a dangerous pick for a position that is meant to enforce critical civil rights protections. This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s failure to live up to the president’s campaign promise of protecting LGBT people and it will have devastating consequences for transgender people across the country.”

Earlier this month, Freedom for All Americans and a number of other organizations launched the #EveryoneWelcome public education and social media campaign to increase visibility of transgender Americans and their stories. The international Transgender Day of Visibility will take place on March 31.

About Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Their work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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