This Week in Women: Rihanna, And Another Attack on Trans Rights
It was a big week for civil rights as the Trump-Pence administration pitted themselves against the LGBTQ community, and Rihanna made moves to improve education for girls worldwide. As activists and organizations get ready for calls-to-action, we cover the need-to-know’s. It’s time for This Week in Women!
Trump Ignites Bonfire With Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric And Actions
Trump spent much of the campaign trail spewing fallacies, and this week, he disproved another one of his 2016 speeches where he crowned himself a “real friend” to the LGBTQ community.
It began on Wednesday with an early morning series of inflammatory tweets, stating that transgender people would no longer be accepted in the military because “(The U.S. military) must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
It was a move that blindsided the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military officials, and threatened to undo the 2016 Obama administration’s decision to open the military to openly transgender individuals (over 15,000 transgender people are currently serving in the US armed forces). While Trump seems to lack a basic understanding of governing and due-process—his tweets will not change the current military status for transgender individuals until the secretary of defense issues new guidelines—his latest affront to gender equality has stirred many activist individuals and organizations, that are now more ready than ever for new legal battles and protests for progressive ideals.
“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck, a Navy SEAL Team 6 hero and transgender activist, told Business Insider. “Being transgender doesn’t affect anyone else. We are liberty’s light. If you can’t defend that for everyone that’s an American citizen, that’s not right.”
Furthermore, on Wednesday the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Attacks against the LGBTQ community at all levels of government continue to pour in from the Trump-Pence Administration,” said Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director in an official statement. “In one fell swoop, Trump’s DOJ has provided a roadmap for dismantling years of federal protections and declared that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people may no longer be protected by landmark civil rights laws such as the Fair Housing Act, Title IX, or Title VII. For over a decade, courts have determined that discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ status is unlawful discrimination under federal law. Today’s filing is a shameful retrenchment of an outmoded interpretation that forfeits faithful interpretation of current law to achieve a politically-driven and legally specious result.”
Navy SEALs Receive Their First Women Applicants
In other US defense headlines, Military.com is reporting that the Navy has received two of its first-ever women applicants who hope to join elite warfare operations. The SEALs have a storied 55-year history, and only in the past year have they opened the door to women, following a Pentagon mandate.
Because of security concerns, the Navy is not releasing the names of the applicants at this time. The Navy has also made accommodations to facilities and supportive amenities since the mandate took effect, and is ready to welcome women candidates.
“It would be premature to speculate as to when we will see the first woman SEAL or SWCC graduate,” said Naval Special Warfare Command, Capt. Jason Salata. “Managing expectations is an important part of the deliberate assessment and selection process; it may take months and potentially years.”
Rihanna Meets With French President And First Lady to Discuss International Education
Rihanna made ripples across the pond this week, meeting with French President Emmanuel Macaron and First Lady Brigitte Macaron. After months of tweets around her Education Fund initiatives, Rihanna took her advocacy to the Élysée Palace to have a serious discussion about supporting her education fund in developing countries.
Thank you Mr. President @EmmanuelMacron and Madame First Lady for the incredible meeting and passion for global and girls education! 🇫🇷
— Rihanna (@rihanna) July 26, 2017
Featured image via Buzzfeed
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.