Two U.S. House Members are taking the Trump administration to task for failing to restore LGBTQ resources to a government website.
Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez and Yvette D. Clarke of the House Small Business Committee say the Trump administration scrubbed its LGBTQ Outreach Page from the Small Business Administration in January 2017.
“I am deeply concerned by the SBA’s removal of its LGBTQ Outreach Page,” said Clarke in a statement. “While we were originally assured that this page was removed for routine construction, enough time has passed for it to be back up and running again.”
The site says “the process is expected to be complete in the near future.”
In a letter to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, the Velázquez and Clarke demand that SBA account for the removal and explain SBA’s plans to work with LGBTQ businesses by May 22.
“Other pages that were also under construction are already up and running,” the letter states. “This is deeply troubling and renews our concern that this page’s removal may have been politically or ideologically motivated, rather than simply administrative.”
According to Jonathan Lovitz, senior vice president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the erasure has serious implications for LGBTQ businesses. In 2012, NGLCC signed a memorandum with SBA that seeks to bolster economic opportunities for queer businesses and entrepreneurs.
“It’s to the detriment of the entire national economy to ever cut them out of the equation,” Lovitz said.
The removal of that information calls into question the spirit of the NGLCC partnership and the administration’s commitment to level the playing field for LGBTQ entrepreneurs, traditionally considered a minority business community.
According to NGLCC President Justin Nelson, 1.4 million LGBTQ businesses account for $1.7 trillion of the U.S. economy.
The Trump Administration is already in hot water for systematically scrubbing LGBTQ resources from government websites. People For the American Way is suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act filing explaining their removal of LGBTQ information from their pages.
The White House website and the State Department have also removed LGBTQ content.