Grieving “America”: Trump’s HHS Now Officially Allows Doctors to Discriminate Against LGBTQ+ Patients

Grieving “America”: Trump’s HHS Now Officially Allows Doctors to Discriminate Against LGBTQ+ Patients April 26, 2020

I Snopesed it.

I wasn’t looking for facts, because the facts were so unbelievable I knew it couldn’t be true. I was looking for confirmation. Validation. Some sign that there is some sanity left in the world. But that is not what I found.

I Snopesed it, and Snopes verified. Under a new initiative by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, American health care providers may now refuse services to LGBTQ (especially trans) patients for religious reasons.

American health care providers. The land of the free. America. The great, shining beacon of liberty. America, where you now have to pass through a McCarthyesque labyrinth of distrust and suspicion just to get through the doors of your local emergency room.

I thought about posting a profanity-laden tirade, but no one would listen, and I’d likely lose my column.

I thought about offering you a political think piece about the Overton Window, and how a Democratic Party that just nominated a former segregationist and homophobe allowed this to happen just as much as the Republican Party that pushed it, but I don’t think we’re there, and this is not the time for politics.

I thought about another nuanced apologetic of the Christian scriptures, pointing out that this is NOT where any reasonable reading of the Bible would lead, but this is not the time to split theological hairs either.

The simple fact is that real people are hurting. Real people are dying. Real humans, with every bit the same inherent worth and dignity as anyone else.

If God has anything to offer us in times like these, it is this: sometimes it is okay to grieve.

By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion

Like the exiles in Psalm 137, I find myself in a foreign land. This is not the America I have come to believe in. This is not the America of separate church and state, or of the individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

How could we sing the LORD’S song
in a foreign land?

At this moment, I feel the grief and the anger and the violent imaginings of the psalmist. I feel the need to remember with nostalgia what America could have been. I feel, with the whole body, the need to lie down and weep, to release the moral and spiritual injuries perpetrated by the current administration’s hatred of my human brothers and sisters. But I can’t. I can’t process my grief fast enough to get to the weeping.

If you are out there, and you are in need, there is hope in the grieving process. If you need help making it through that process, there are resources available. Help that will not discriminate. Here are a few to get you started:

If you know of other safe resources, please add them in the comments. Homophobic and transphobic comments will be deleted, and the perpetrators permanently banned. This is not the place for debating whether LGBTQ+ people are entitled to basic human rights.

About Jim Coppoc
About Jim Coppoc is a seminarian at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and the award-winning author of three books and two chapbooks of poetry; four good plays; a forgettable textbook; and a host of articles, essays, short prose, etc. He was among the founding faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Chatham University, and he taught writing, literature and American Indian Studies for many years at Iowa State University. Jim has collaborated with groups from the National Endowment for the Arts to the Iowa and Wyoming Arts Councils to prisons, preschools, churches, bars and everything between. He currently lives in Ames, Iowa with two amazing sons and the best dog ever, and he is hard at work on a novel about angels, demons, boarding school, and what it means to be blood. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives