Trump likes to portray himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community. He made history last Thursday night with an explicit pledge to protect LGBTQ people during his speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination.
But while many are praising Trump for this rare act of inclusiveness, a close reading of what Trump actually said (and didn’t say) paints a totally different picture.
Referring to the Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub a few weeks ago, Trump said, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”
Yes, Trump may want to protect our LGBTQ community from foreign terrorists, but what about the more immediate threat from domestic terrorists?
Trump does not believe in federal protections for LGTBQ people, opting instead for a “state’s rights” solution. He is perfectly OK with states deciding whether transgender people may use restrooms matching their gender identity; he has no problem with states trying to restrict same-sex marriages; he has no issue with states trying to make discrimination legal by passing “religious freedom” laws.
One of the most restrictive of those “religious freedom” laws was passed in Indiana this past March. The law, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, prohibited state and local laws that “substantially burden” the ability of people — including businesses and associations — to follow their religious beliefs. In other words, a business could now discriminate against anyone that offended the owner’s “deeply held religious beliefs” without fear of being sued. Now, a person’s religious beliefs trumped another person’s federally guaranteed rights.
And who was the governor that signed this anti-LGBTQ, pro-discrimination bill into law? Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick.
Try as he might, many inside and outside the LGBTQ community are not buying Trump’s professed humanity and decency. Well except, perhaps, for a curious subset of Republicans.
Gregory Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents LGBT Republicans, has said, “Donald Trump here is showing leadership on LGBT issues and we haven’t seen that from Republican presidential nominees in decades. Certainly we’ve never seen a nominee so directly engage with and seek the support from LGBT voters.”
Trump’s chances of attracting members of the LGBTQ community to his camp are about as great as those of attracting blacks. Latinos and Muslims.
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