The Washington Post has been keeping track of the number of lies that Donald Trump has told in public. When I checked the site yesterday, it had last been updated on May 29, 2020, at that time, Trump had been in office for 1,226 (long and disastrous) days in office. In that time, Trump has made 19,128 false or misleading claims. During his time in office, Trump and his administration has been the most viciously anti-LGBTQ administration in the nation’s history. Now, the Republican Party has published a claim so preposterous you’d think it was published in The Onion. President Donald Trump, they say, has “taken unprecedented steps to protect the LGBTQ community.” This from a man that picked Mike Pence, one of America’s most homophobic politicians, as his Vice President. On the same day the Republican Party made this announcement, they also announced it would recycle its cruel 2016 platform that specifically targeted the LGBTQ community for condemnation. As such, the Republican platform will continue to oppose same-sex marriage and the expansion of civil rights for sexual orientation and gender identity while supporting President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, conversion therapy, and businesses discriminating against same-sex couples.
In the statement released by the GOP, the party only lists times the president “kept his promise to protect the LGBTQ citizens,” conveniently leaving out the hundreds of times the administration has actively worked to undermine the community. Many of the accomplishments were simply continuations of protocols set by previous administrations and were either broken promises or extremely misleading. One of the statement’s assertions touts that since elected, President Trump has selected five openly gay persons for a position as U.S. Ambassador: Robert Gilchrist, Richard Grenell, Randy Berry, Eric Nelson, and Jeff Daigle. The document also points out that in 2019, President Trump’s first LGBTQ judicial nominee, Mary Rowland was confirmed to the District Court of Northern District of Illinois.
In a letter to the U.S. Military Academy’s graduating class, a coalition of several hundred West Point alumni slammed the Trump administration’s politicization of the military amid nationwide protests. “Sadly, the government has threatened to use the Army in which you serve as a weapon against fellow Americans engaging in these legitimate protests. Worse, military leaders, who took the same oath you take today, have participated in politically charged events,” the alumni wrote. “The oath taken by those who choose to serve in America’s military is aspirational. We pledge service to no monarch; no government; no political party; no tyrant,” the group continued, adding that they were “concerned that fellow graduates serving in senior-level, public positions are failing to uphold their oath of office and their commitment to Duty, Honor, Country.” I bring this up because like those West Point alumni in the Trump administration who have betrayed their oath, Robert Gilchrist, Richard Grenell, Randy Berry, Eric Nelson, and Jeff Daigle have betrayed their own LGBTQ community.
There is no excuse for someone working against their own best interest for fame, power, or whatever reason they try to justify their traitorous actions. To quote Michelangelo Signorile, “When you will sell out your own kind, there’s really no telling how low you will go.” Maybe the lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women (as far as I know, there are no transgender people in the administration) who work in the Trump administration don’t see themselves as traitors, yet they work for an administration that has systematically done everything it can to destroy LGBTQ equality since being sworn into office. The lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who work for an administration which is actively trying to destroy the LGBTQ community may claim that they are trying to work within the system to change it are deceiving themselves and anyone who listens to them. Instead they need to be advocating strongly for LGBTQ rights and not collaborating with people working against that cause. They need to actively be working to get this administration our of office. When Joe Biden becomes president, this country will once again stand as a beacon of hope for LGBTQ people in America and around the world.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence have done everything in their power to endanger the rights and lives of LGBTQ people: banning transgender service members from being able to serve their country, proposing policies to strip LGBTQ health care protections, allowing homeless shelters to turn away transgender people, and encouraging adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ families, and the list seems to never end. The list the GOP released includes laughably tiny gestures like allowing a gay man to speak at the 2016 convention and lists various appointments he made that were filled by LGBTQ community members, like the ones I mentioned above. For many in the LGBTQ community, they risked everything to come out and be who they really are. Most survived, others did not, and many others lost their family and friends. We have fought too hard to let our government take away our rights.
A large part of the list revolves around former ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. The out Trump acolyte was tapped to serve as Acting Director of National Intelligence, making him the first gay person to hold a cabinet-level position. Grenell’s tenure in both positions was rocked with repeated scandals and German officials reportedly “shunned” the controversial diplomat for his association with the far right, his interference in German domestic politics, and a perceived lack of professionalism, describing him as “narcissistic.” As the ambassador, Grenell announced a new federal initiative to decriminalize homosexuality around the world and said it demonstrated Trump’s commitment to civil rights and the LGBTQ community. Asked about it by reporters, Trump admitted he didn’t know anything about it. In total, Trump has nominated five gay men to ambassadorial positions, yet the administration refused to allow embassies to fly rainbow flags during Pride month.
Why am I saying all of this? It’s because lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are three times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Medically serious attempts at suicide are four times more likely among LGBTQ youth than other young people. African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual attempt suicide at especially high rates. One study found that 41 percent of transgender adults said they had attempted suicide. The same study found that 61 percent of transgender people who were victims of physical assault had attempted suicide. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them. Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become two and a half times more likely to hurt themselves. This administration is furthering this with their policies of LGBTQ discrimination.
If we had a more accepting society in America, we could fight these statistics. So, I partially hold those LGBTQ people who work for the Trump administration responsible because they are helping make it harder for the LGBTQ community. I had a very good friend who was gay. Even though his family was not religious, they were conservative. When he came out to them, his brother nearly beat him to death while his parents watched and did nothing. His family never spoke to him again. Shortly after that, he tried to commit suicide. Thank goodness, he failed in his attempt. A friend found him in time, and he was taken to a hospital. Sadly, he died too young in a car accident several years later. This is hard for me to write, but because gay people were so demonized when I was growing up, I didn’t think it was possible for me to be gay. I was bullied relentlessly in school for being a sissy, appearing to be gay, or because my voice was not deep enough. The bullying and the inability to deal with my own sexuality led me to try and take my own life. I thank God every day that I was unsuccessful. I believe now that God had and has a plan for me. However, my parents still don’t accept me being gay, and I don’t expect they ever will. I suspect that a large number of my LGBTQ readers have faced similar issues: you either have attempted suicide, you know an LGBTQ who has attempted suicide, or you know an LGBTQ person who did commit suicide.
All of these are reasons why LGBTQ people should not work within an administration like Trump’s because by doing so, they are showing acceptance of his policies. We have to fight as hard as we can against LBGTQ discrimination. We need the United States to show the world that we care about our LGBTQ community. We can do that by electing Joe Biden. He has already been shown to be an LGBTQ ally, and his campaign recently announced a new voter outreach effort, Out For Biden, aimed at the LGBTQ community. Biden believes that every human being should be treated with respect and dignity and be able to live without fear no matter who they are or who they love. During the Obama-Biden Administration, the United States made historic strides toward LGBTQ equality: the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Biden’s historic declaration in support of marriage equality on Meet the Press in 2012, and the unprecedented advancement of protections for LGBTQ Americans at the federal level. While there are 11 million LGBTQ Americans eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election, over 2 million aren’t registered to vote. According to the Williams Institute, 50 percent of registered LGBTQ voters are Democrats, 15 percent are Republicans, 22 percent are Independents, and 13 percent said they identify with another party or did not know with which party they most identify. LGBTQ voters are racially diverse, 47 percent are under age 35, and one-third have at least a college education. As LGBTQ people, we are central to the fabric of this country. We must elect a government that will focus their voices and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ people everywhere.
The bottom line is that if you support Trump you cannot seriously claim to support the LGBTQ community. As I said the other day “Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all of them decided that racism isn’t a deal breaker.” The same goes true concerning the LGBTQ community: not all Trump supporters are homophobic, but all of them decided that homophobia isn’t a deal breaker. This was clearly and bluntly (with a few expletives) illustrated by a gay Texas man named Andrew Joseph Duffer, who recently posted a YouTube video titled: “Five Minutes of Hot Tea.” The video may be hilarious, but Duffer’s description of Trump supporters in his small Texas hometown should raise concerns. I can relate to this video concerning my friends and family back in Alabama. As Duffer points out, “it’s not a difference of opinion, it’s a difference of morality.” If you haven’t seen this video, it’s worth watching. He uses some language I don’t use among polite society, but few of my friends are polite, so I won’t say its language I don’t use. Watch it if you want. Some will like it, some won’t:
I know there is a lot packed into this post, and I got a little carried away. I had a lot I wanted to say. If you read it all, thank you.