Trump Administration Removes ‘Sexual Orientation’ from Anti-Discrimination Guidelines

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has cut “sexual orientation” from workplace anti-discrimination guidelines, according to the Huffington Post.

LGBTQ-inclusive language was removed from the DOI’s workplace discrimination guidelines, the 2009 version of which explicitly covers sexual orientation. Now, the 2017 version only explicitly mentions “race, color, religion, sex, age, or handicap.”

Former Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt also sent a letter to state department staff on his first day on the job which included the guidelines. In the letter, “sexual orientation” was also removed.

Screenshot courtesy of Friends of the Earth/FOIA

DOI spokesperson Carol Danko said the change does not exclude the LGBTQ community because the language of “sex” includes sexual orientation.

“Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under Title VII [of the 1964 Civil Rights Act] the term ‘sex’ includes gender, gender identity, transgender status, sexual orientation, and pregnancy,’ Danko said. “[T]he Interior Department has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind.”

However, the administration made a contradictory argument before the Supreme Court in an effort to legalize anti-trans discrimination; in August, the Department of Justice argued that Title VII “does not prohibit discrimination against transgender persons based on their transgender status.”