13,000 LGBTI Americans struggle without pay in Trump shutdown

Donald Trump

President Trump’s so-called ‘humanitarian crisis’ at the border is creating a real-life American crisis across the country. This is the longest government shutdown ever for the United States, and it was entirely preventable.

As the manufactured stunt by the President continues, my mind reflects on the last time our government was shut down.

The 2013 shutdown was the outcome of petty, partisan fighting – much like this one. Hundreds of thousands of government workers were furloughed from their jobs.

I was one of those people.

And you can take it from me: Trump’s current Government shutdown could be a disaster for LGBTI people.

Being an LGBTI Government worker during a shutdown

Six years ago, I was working in Washington, D.C. for a U.S. Senator. I was in my early twenties and had a job that barely covered the basics. Whether covering my overpriced rent or my groceries, I also had to chip away at my student and credit card debt.

My budget was extremely tight, and let’s just say there were many times I was counting down to payday.

When the government shutdown happened, I didn’t really know what to expect or what to do. As furloughed staffers, we were not allowed to do any work or use our government hardware to communicate with our teams.

We could find supplementary employment – but it had to be preapproved by the Senate Ethics Committee. Which was closed because of the shutdown.

Needless to say, there was little way to make up for the pay we were missing.

The White House lit up in rainbow lights in 2015

The White House lit up in rainbow lights in 2015 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Getting by on the generosity of people and business

Small businesses within the community, like restaurants, gave federal workers discounted prices for meals. But because my budget was already razor-thin, it was hard to enjoy those gestures of generosity.

Indeed, by the time the first week of the shut down passed, my accounts were near the red.

By the middle of the second week, my credit cards were maxed out. Just as that shut down was wrapping up, I was forced to apply for yet another credit card. And it was only so I could to buy more groceries until my next paycheck.

That’s not all, though. My financial dilemma led me to float some critical bills.

I skipped out on paying my cell, electric, and student loan bills. All so I could survive a mess beyond my control.

‘It was New Year when the debt collectors stopped calling’

Fortunately, federal workers got pay back after the 2013 government shutdown. And it looks like that will happen this time too.

But for the people like me who had to float bills or max out their resources to live during that time, that money will only pay off the additional debt they accumulated.

I think it was the New Year when the debt collectors stopped calling. I was finally all caught up on just paying the minimum amount on my bills.

But the damage was done, and it is happening yet again to all those federal workers who can’t afford a missed paycheck.

By the time this publishes 800,000 federal workers will have missed their paychecks. And many other contractors, local businesses, and family members will be feeling the impact too.

13,000 of the federal workers identify as LGBTQ, with another 10% choosing to not identify. The shutdown is hurting them.

The Trump shutdown is the 90th attack on LGBTI Americans from his presidency

Marginalized communities, like LGBTI Americans, could see lasting consequences from this Trump shutdown because statistically, they are already working hard from paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet.

This preventable shut down marks the 90th attack from the Trump Administration on the LGBTI community explicitly through it policy and rhetoric since the beginning of 2017.

And while Washington, D.C.’s political elite dominate the headlines, remember the people who will suffer because of these foolish, political games.

Drew Anderson is the Director of Campaigns and Rapid Response for GLAAD.

See also:

Man scammed by fake sugar daddy on Grindr, can’t report identity theft due to US government shutdown

Everything LGBTI people need to know about Trump’s border wall

Trump administration considering rollback of anti-discrimination rules

Author: Jamie Wareham

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At 22 Days Government Shutdown Is The Longest On Record

AFGE – #StoptheShutdown Rally – Washington, DC

The partial government shutdown became the longest funding lapse in U.S. history today, as it dragged into its 22nd day.


The New York Times says:

At midnight on Saturday, the shutdown entered its 22nd day, which makes it the longest gap in American government funding ever.

That beats the previous record, under President Bill Clinton in 1995, of 21 days.

In total, there have been 21 gaps in government funding since 1976, though the level of shutdown has varied. The current federal shutdown is a partial one, as many agencies were already funded through this fiscal year, which ends in September.

GLAAD tweeted earlier this week: As we’ve hit now three weeks of the Donald Trump government shutdown, GLAAD wanted to point out what this shut down could mean for the LGBTQ community, specifically – the federal workers who are currently furloughed and going without a paycheck.

Hang in there folks.

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Trump Walks Out of ‘Waste of Time’ Meeting with Democrats: Shutdown Update

On the 19th day of the government shutdown yesterday the Democratic-controlled House voted 240-188 Wednesday to reopen several federal agencies, with only eight Republicans voting to end the shutdown.

The bill would have reopened the Department of Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial services agencies. This was part of the efforts of Democrats  to pressure the White House to end the partial shutdown.

But the strategy isn’t showing signs of breaking the  House Republicans’ resolve to back Trump’s insistence on continuing the partial shutdown until Democrats provide $5.7 billion for a border wall. The eight Republicans were only one more than last week’s total of seven who supported a Democratic bill to reopen all the closed agencies. At least 55 Republicans would need to vote with Democrats to override a presidential veto.

This led Trump to walk out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, saying it a was a “waste of time.”

“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted afterward. “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

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