No, Donald Trump Does Not Support the LGBT+ Community
In the wake of this election, I’ve been seeing sources claiming that our president-elect is a big supporter of the LGBT+ community and wishes to embrace us with open arms. Donald may not be as vocal about his opposition to LGBT+ rights as some of the other members of his political party, and what he has said on the matter has gone widely unreported, but he is undoubtedly opposed to advancements in LGBT+ rights.
It’s true, he may be more supportive than other Republicans have been in the past, but in no way does that fix the problem, nor does it excuse the negativity that he does express towards the community. The media seems to play up his LGBT+ support (of which he does have an incredibly small percentage, somehow) and show off his pandering as acceptance, which has led to misconceptions about his true stance on this issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see my cishet friends marveling at articles that discuss Donald’s “support” and reveling in their optimism towards the subject, but it just isn’t true.
The simplest aspect of his discrimination is that Donald has expressed interest in overturning marriage equality. This would, as you could guess, prevent individuals from marrying those that are legally defined as being the same gender. This is a right that, country-wide, the community has had for less than a year and a half since the marriage equality ruling on June 26th, 2015. For Donald to overturn this ruling would be a major setback in LGBT+ rights, which, at least by my definition, does not constitute “support” for the community. This is why we are angry.
This ruling could be overturned by the Supreme Court, which Donald will be able to remodel to his liking in the coming years due to the age and projected retirement of current judges, as well as the replacement of Judge Scalia, who passed away earlier this year. The current list of judges selected by Donald, from which he will fill the current hole in the Supreme Court and likely any other appointments he will make in the future, is filled with judges who are interested in overturning marriage equality. Since Supreme Court Justices serve life-terms, the judges appointed could potentially keep marriage equality down until the panel is tipped back to a liberal majority — and since Donald is likely to have two or three appointments, the panel could have a conservative majority for years to come. This is why we are angry.
The main concern of the community, however, and one that disproves any theory that Donald is supportive of LGBT+ rights, is his choice of vice president, one of the most homophobic politicians in the country, Mike Pence. The most terrifying aspect of his beliefs is his strong support of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is the practice of forcing LGBT+ youth to undergo procedures to “turn them straight,” or as it is referred to by supporters of this practice, “fix” them. One method for this conversion is electroshock therapy. During this procedure, the youth are subjected to repetitive painful electric shocks in an attempt to “fix” their brain. Another method of conversion, and the more common of the two major methods, is a complete mental breakdown of the individual. Therapists repeatedly tell the individual horrible things about themselves, like that they are worthless, abominations, and sinners. Eventually, after being told these things day in and day out, the person undergoing the procedure begins to believe what they are told. At this point, the method changes and the individual is told how to fix themselves — and being as beaten down and broken as they are at that point, they’ll do it. They will honestly believe that they were a terrible person before, but that they can be “fixed.” Many don’t survive this treatment — youth that undergo these procedures are 8.9 times more likely to commit suicide than those who did not suffer the same trauma. This practice is banned in only five states. While Pence does not support one type of conversion therapy over another, he is a proud supporter of conversion therapy as a whole, and pushed to fund it while he served as Governor of Indiana. While selecting a running mate, there is no way that Donald was not aware of Pence’s explicit homophobia. If Donald actually supported and cared for the LGBT+ community, he would not have chosen Pence as his vice president. This is why we are angry.
There is also the threat of hate crimes committed against the community by Donald’s supporters. In the past week, hate crimes against minority groups have risen. There have been attacks, vandalism, and killings. The LGBT+ community’s concern is not with Donald alone, but with the movement that he has created. Many of his supporters do not accept the community, and have shown that they are not above expressing these feelings through violence and aggression. Because of this, there is a legitimate threat of injury or death for publicly expressing one’s queerness. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search for “election gay hate crime.” There are several results that appear from the past week. This is why we are angry.
In addition, Donald has promised to pass FADA, the First Amendment Defense Act, which would legalize discrimination against the LGBT+ community on a basis of “religious freedom.” This could result with members of the community losing jobs or being denied housing or services simply for being queer. Losing one’s job and suffering the denial of basic services would land members of the community out on the streets — all because of who they are and how they identify themself. This is why we are angry.
This is what the LGBT+ community fears for the next four years. These fears are not melodramatic or unwarranted. They are real, they are valid, and they lead to a distrust of the president-elect. The overturning of marriage equality and broader use of conversion therapy are very real and very frightening possibilities. The legalization of discrimination and an upsurge in hate crimes are very real and very frightening possibilities. This is why we are angry, and this is why we are afraid.