Protesters at BLM headquarters on Jan. 2, 2020

Protesters showed up at BLM headquarters in Grand Junction Thursday, the first day the office was open for business. Photo courtesy Clean Water Action.

The representatives of 40 Colorado organizations signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt raising an alarm about the department’s removal of sexual orientation from its anti-discrimination guidelines.

Elimination of sexual orientation “flies in the face of the promise that America's public lands and resources hold for all and, instead, could have a chilling effect on current LGBTQ employees seeking to report discrimination internally,” reads the letter dated Jan. 24. Signatories included representatives of the Endangered Species Coalition, Colorado Mountain Bike Association, and Conservation Colorado.

“All DOI staff deserve equal protection. Secretary Bernhardt, we call on you to reinstate protections for the LGBTQ community at DOI immediately,” they wrote.

The Huffington Post reported in December 2019 that the Trump Administration cut the phrase “sexual orientation” from an equal opportunity statement in its anti-discrimination policy.

The letter also warned about sending “a terrible message to individuals applying for jobs at DOI,” including to the new positions in Grand Junction. The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of moving its headquarters and a few dozen jobs to Grand Junction, despite worries of forcing out longtime employees and losing their expertise.

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