Sunday, January 24, 2021

Roger Severino, the Trump appointee who targeted LGBTQ health, is out of a job

Since being appointed by Trump as director of the Office of Civil Rights at HHS in 2017, Roger Severino seemed to have made it his mission to strip LGBTQ Americans of basic health rights. With Biden's victory in November, he is out of a job.

Editor's note - Ever since Biden won last November, I've been waiting with much anticipation to announce this news.

As of now, LGBTQ Americans have one less homophobe in government to worry about. Thanks to the Biden Administration, that is.

Roger Severino is gone from Health and Human Services. 

In March 2017, Severino was appointed by former president Donald Trump as director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His appointment created immediate and intense consternation within the LGBTQ community because he had a long history of employment with groups who worked against our rights and safety, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Becket Fund.

While with those groups, his job was to specifically target our rights. And while employed at HHS, he continued that endeavor:

In 2018, The Advocate claimed that he was attempting to "erase trans people out of existence" by pushing a memo which would say that gender identity doesn't exist and that gender is set at birth and defined by genitalia. 

Severino was also responsible for an attempt to create a rule which would roll back protections for the trans community against discrimination through Obamacare, and  a "conscience rule" which said any healthcare worker could deny services to LGBTQ people based on "moral or religious" reasons. In November 2019, three different federal courts struck down the rule and one court found that HHS exaggerated a justification for the rule. Severino was pointed out in an NPR article to have contributed to that exaggeration. 

While probably not as attention-grabbing as the Trump Administration's other exploits against LGBTQ Americans, Severino's actions had to potential to garner more negative repercussions. The Centers of Disease Control  and other major medical centers have pointed out that a major impediment to good LGBTQ healthcare is a fear of discrimination and stigma. We are scared of being outed, being humiliated, or even of possible violence This makes us less likely to seek out good physicians and the medical care we need. In addition, the stress created by this situation makes us more susceptible to depression, drug abuse, and STDs. 

Anything which undermines our ability to receive decent medical care, even if it is a rule which discriminates against us under the deceptive tone of "anti-religious discrimination," has the potential to have a negative effect our health. And the results would allow the anti-LGBTQ industry to exploit the evergreen trope of "homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle."

My opinion is that Severino  knew this. And had Trump won a second term, he would have been able to do more damage to us.

But now, Severino is out of a job. He is no longer employed at HHS. Dismissed. Purged. Given "the old heave ho." No matter how you phrase it, that turkey is gone and I am extremely glad about it.  His page on the HHS site is also gone and in place of his name on the HHS leadership webpage is Robinsue Frohboese as 'acting director.'

From what one of my sources tells me, Frohboese previously served as principal deputy director of OCR (Office of Civil Rights). In addition, Frohboese worked for 17 years in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, first as Senior Trial Attorney and subsequently as Deputy Chief. Lastly, Frohboese has played a key role in many civil rights initiatives and OCR’s implementation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  

Isn't it nice to have a qualified person in this position instead of an overpaid lackey for anti-LGBTQ think tank?