January 26, 2018 at 7:13 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Carey: Trump ‘has morally and ethically vacated’ office of president

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey speaks at the 2018 Creating Change conference in D.C. on Jan. 26, 2018 (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey on Friday sharply criticized President Trump during her organization’s annual State of the Movement speech.

Carey in the speech she and National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson delivered during the annual Creating Change conference that is taking place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in D.C. said Trump “has morally and ethically vacated the office of the president.” Carey also described Trump as a “sexual harasser and abuser,” a “racist” and a “white supremacist.”

“He is erratic, dishonest and anti-democratic,” said Carey. “He works to ignore or undermine the Constitution he is sworn to uphold.”

Johnson described U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ guidance that said individuals and businesses can act on their religious beliefs without fear of government reprisal as “a sweeping license to discriminate.” She said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new Office of Conscience and Religious Freedom “could allow health care providers to discriminate against patients because they are transgender or they want access to a reproductive healthcare, including a safe, legal abortion.”

She also criticized the Trump administration for making schools “less safe for transgender students,” its efforts to ban citizens of predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and for “the cruel all-out attack on immigrants including Dreamers.”

Johnson and Carey were wearing red and black respectively to honor transgender and gender non-conforming people who were killed in 2017 and the #MeToo movement against sexual violence and harassment.

“As people who care about and work for social justice, this last year has been relentless,” said Johnson. “It’s been brutal.”

Carey accused Trump of neglecting “his duties to devote resources to the people” of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria. She further noted the National LGBTQ Task Force will no longer refer to Trump with the title of president.

“In our movement, we know a drama queen when we see one,” said Carey. “The Drama Queen-in-Chief is a real problem.”

“He is also a manifestation of a much larger problem, and a distraction all at the same time,” she added. “He is the most visible part of a machine at work to undermine democracy, surface and flame racial tensions, solidify white supremacists in power and establish an extremist Christian nation.”

Carey said that while Trump’s “tweets, tantrums, lies, legal issues and Russia have been taking up the headlines, there are threats to our LGBTQ and progressive progress happening at the state and local levels that we must pay attention to.”

“That we must direct our energies towards,” she added. “Now, more than ever, to ensure a future for freedom and justice — all politics is local and the personal is political.”

Miss Major, longtime conference organizer honored

Thousands of LGBT rights advocates from the U.S. and around the world are attending the conference that ends on Sunday. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is among those who have spoken thus far.

Carey, Johnson and other National LGBTQ Task Force staffers on Friday honored Sue Hyde, the conference’s longtime organizer who is stepping down later this year, before the State of the Movement speech. Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a trans activist of color who participated in the 1969 Stonewall riots, received an award from the National LGBTQ Task Force that is named in honor of Hyde.

“You have to learn how to resist,” said Griffin-Gracy as she stood on stage with several trans women and gender non-conforming people of color. “You have to learn how to fucking fight back.”

Carey and Johnson were equally as defiant in their speech.

“It has become clear, no matter how many setbacks we face, no matter what challenges are thrown at us, we are standing up for ourselves and for each other,” said Carey. “We will resist, survive and thrive.”

Veteran activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is honored at the 2018 Creating Change conference in D.C. on Jan. 26, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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