LGBTQ? No better time than now

During the campaign Trump held up the Pride Flag upside down during a rally. AP Photo.

by Dustin Woods
Contributing Writer

On November 8, the LGBTQ community came to the hard realization that we would be dealing with four years of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Considering that almost all of the pollsters were saying Clinton was ahead, many of us didn't expect [President] Trump to be the victor. But now we have to take stock of what has happened and prepare for what is to come.

How do we know what [President] Trump is going to do regarding the rights of LGBTQ community given he has so few stated policy goals? “Make America Great Again” was the campaign slogan and one word in that slogan says it all.

Rather than arguing about the status of American greatness, let’s consider only the word at the end of the phrase, “Again.” The word has a denotation of doing a thing another time, but here the connotation of what is said is that we are going back to a prior age of American greatness.

As a gay man considering rights in America, I can't think of a way to go back to a time where things were better than they are now. For the first time in any LGBTQ American's life our relationships have the backing and official approval of the government of the United States. Marriage as a fundamental right to all has finally been recognized but only a year and a half ago and through hard fought legal battles.

“Making America Great Again” under a Trump Presidency means to me that [President] Trump will roll back social progress that has been made. If not through the direct actions of every branch of the government (which Republicans will have control of), then through the erosion of civil society.

We have already seen too many examples of our neighbors being victimized by people who are seemingly emboldened by the election of [President] Trump considering they are citing him in their vandalisms. According to CNN, Jeff Sessions, [President] Trump’s Attorney General nominee (the person charged with enforcing the laws of the U.S.), is someone who couldn't pass a nomination process to become a federal judge during the Reagan Administration. He was deemed ineligible due to his perceived racial bias in enforcing the laws as a federal prosecutor, along with other allegations of racism.

With that, what hope do LGBTQ Americans have that their rights are going to be protected?

Finally, and most importantly of all the biggest red flag for the LGBTQ community should be [President] Trump's pick for Vice President, Mike Pence. Let us not forget this is the Governor of Indiana who signed the Religious Restoration Freedom Act into law allowing businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples on the basis of religious freedom.

The same man who, as a Congressman, passed an amendment to a bill that defunded Planned Parenthood. Whose website during his successful Congressional bid in 2000 said that AIDS funding should go to conversion therapy programs.

I think it is obvious through his word and his deed where Mr. Pence's heart is when it comes to the LGBTQ community and the issues they care about.

The unified message I see in these staffing decisions by [President] Trump is not a true concern for diversity or inclusion of all peoples in the American dream of equality. Actions speak louder than words and so far I hear a rolling thunder approaching that I fear may be the beginning of erosions to a society that sees me and those like me more as an equal, a society where we respect each other and value our differences, a society where our better angels prevail.

During the campaign [President] Trump held up the Pride Flag during a rally. It was upside down. Flag officianados out there will know this is a sign of duress. A prescient symbol of how it feels to be LGBTQ facing the next four years.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – January 4, 2017 @ 8 a.m.