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February 2, 2017

Every day we’re seeing the true face of Donald Trump and his administration. In less than two weeks in office, Trump has continued his crisis rhetoric, alienating groups left, right and center.

From repression of the freedom of the press and sanctioned hate speech against people of color, as seen in the video below, to overt sexism and White nationalist rhetoric – Trump has done it all.

As if it isn’t bad enough that the business mogul had taken the reins of the “free world”, he has spent his first two weeks in office signing executive orders that endanger the security of the majority of people living in the U.S.

The latest addition to the list is a leaked draft of an impending order that would effectively legalize discrimination under the guise of protecting “religious freedom”. According to The Nation, the draft protects tax exemption for:

“organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”

Protections would also extend to individuals such as federal workers who may deny services to same-sex married couples.

For having such broad provisions, the leaked draft caters to a narrow set of beliefs. And its implications are alarming to say the least. Not only does it breach the First Amendment, but it also legalizes discrimination against already marginalized groups, namely LGBTQ people and women of color, who are more likely than White women to receive an abortion. And in light of the recent Muslim ban, the draft’s use of “religious freedom” rhetoric reeks of hypocrisy.

In 2013, ActionAid started a three-year project in South Africa to work with more than 450 lesbian activists from Johannesburg. The project supports lesbian and bisexual women to challenge the patriarchal and discriminatory attitudes and perceptions that fuel violence in their communities.

Working with our local partner – the only organization in South Africa focused on the needs and interests of Black lesbian and bisexual women – we provide training so that the women know their rights, and what to do when they are threatened or attacked.

The work that the women do, pushing for change in government policy and reform of the criminal justice system, is of huge importance for them to be able to claim their rights.

The Constitution of South Africa protects the rights of all people to make their own decisions regarding reproduction and gives them security and control over their bodies. But patriarchal and discriminatory attitudes often prevent the women from getting the care they need. And that’s why we’ll continue to provide women around the world with information and support on their full range of rights through our work.

We’ll also resist all attempts to legitimize discrimination – whatever Trump and his team come up with.