CDC drops LGBT words like transgender, diversity
It looks like the Trump administration is taking a page from George Orwell’s novel 1984 by prohibiting a number of terms and phrases to be used in official documents– including LGBT words like “transgender” and “diversity.”
These moves were seen by political analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, who were given a list of words by senior CDC officials of what words not use.
LGBT words in the list: Transgender, diversity
As reported by The Washington Post, the list was revealed at a 90-minute briefing by CDC officials overseeing the budget.
Aside from “transgender” and “diversity,” other words on the list were “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
The phrases for “science-based” or “evidence-based” were given suggested alternative phrasing: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”
It was not explained why the words on the list were recommended to be changed. However, other offices at the CDC have confirmed this list.
Likewise, the list is to be used on budget and supporting materials that are given to Congress in relation to President Donald Trump’s budget for 2019.
CDC defense of the list: No ban
As the agency in charge of CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said they “will continue to use the best scientific evidence available to improve the health of all Americans.”
The new CDC director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, tweeted on over the weekend: “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.”
Meanwhile, an HHS official that asked not to be named told the website STAT that “This was all about providing guidance to those who would be writing those budget proposals. And it was very much ‘you may wish to do this or say this’.”
The person added: “But there was nothing in the way of ‘forbidden words’.”
Response against ban of LGBT words
In response to the news, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health described the recommendations as “an Orwellian attack on scientific integrity.”
“The reported policy flatly contravenes the mission of the agency, grossly violates the agency’s pledge to the American people, and represents an appalling act of censorship,” wrote Laura Magaña, president of the association.
Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told STAT: ““So of course the administration and its defenders are going to argue that this is only about what goes into the budget.”
“But we know that the signal to the agency is much stronger than that. And it’s going to change behavior of people who work there. And that’s much more damaging than any direct censorship,” Jha said.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, tweeted a promise to Trump and Pence: “Your ignorant attempts to erase transgender people will backfire. We will counter your hatred by being louder and more visible than ever before.”
Gabrielle Bellot wrote in a column for the LGBT news publication, Them, warning that: “If ‘transgender’ ceases to exist as a term in official government documents, we, too, begin to vanish.”