Monday, July 11, 2016

Why LGBT People Should Fear Donald Trump

As I write this post, subcommittees of the Republican Party Platform Committee are spewing out all kinds of anti-LGBT positions which range from support for a federal constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell to supporting bogus "ex-gay" conversion therapy, to support for license to discrimination laws that would place right wing Christians above the law in many respects.  Drawing perhaps less attention is Donald Trump's continued self-prostitution to Christofascists, including surrounding himself with a advisory board that ought to frighten the hell out of LGBT Americans.  A piece in Salon looks at why LGBT Americans out to be very fearful of Donald Trump.  Here are highlights:
For someone who claims to be a “friend to the gays,” Donald Trump sure does like to hang around with homophobes.
Since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which claimed the lives of 49 people, Trump has been repeatedly trying to sell himself as an ally to the LGBT community—or at least better than Hillary Clinton on gay rights.  But while publicly courting the votes of LGBT Republicans like Caitlyn Jenner, who recently had a “supportive” call with the billionaire CEO, he has aligned himself with extreme anti-gay factions of the right wing in private. The businessman has been referred to as a “moderate” on the subject of gay rights, with even the New York Times crediting his “more accepting views” on the LGBT community, but if a politician is to be judged by the company he keeps, a Trump presidency stands to be the most brutal assault on the dignity of queer people since Reagan’s.
Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have a great deal in common. They are two men who don’t fit the traditional image of what a president looks like. Reagan was a well-known actor before he was a politician, while Trump—the son of a businessman—was born into the world of finance, the embodiment of 1980s Wall Street excess (he may as well be ripped out of “Bonfire of the Vanities”). Before their campaigns proved popular with a great number of Americans, these men’s political ambitions were considered a joke: After all, who would ever vote for a celebrity for president? But if his [Reagan's] opposition to gay rights was merely “for political purposes,” as the paper suggested, the end result was no different: Thousands of queer people died in the streets during the 1980s while the White House refused to acknowledge them. Ronald Reagan wouldn’t publicly say the word “AIDS” until 1985—four years after theNew York Times first reported the outbreak of a “rare cancer seen in 41 homosexuals.” 
His [Trump's] 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” further hinted at the need for nondiscrimination protections in the workplace to protect LGBT employees. . . . . But since ramping up his ambitions for the presidency, Trump has repeatedly rolled back those views. Back in 2011, the CEO came out against same-sex unions in an interview with the Des Moines Register. “I’m not in favor of gay marriage,” he said. “They should not be able to marry. … I just don’t feel good about it.” He recently reiterated those views to Fox News’ Chris Wallace, promising that, if elected, he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the 2015 ruling on marriage equality. “I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that maybe could change things,” he said.
To Republicans unconvinced by his change of his heart, Donald Trump offered the following words during a February sitdown with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network: “Trust me.” Reports suggest that Trump is close to tapping Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, with one-time Trump adviser Michael Caputo telling the Indianapolis Star last week that the choice is all but a done deal. . . . If Pence’s name sounds the alarm for LGBT people, it’s because Pence was behind the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 2015 religious liberty laws that allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. 
Given a national platform, Pence could do immeasurable harm to queer and transgender people, but he is only one of many destructive forces with whom Trump has threatened to align himself.
In June, Trump announced the formation of his religious advisory board, which amounted to a Justice League of anti-gay hate. Appointees included Michelle Bachmann, James Dobson, Richard Land, Harry Jackson, Ronnie Floyd, James Robison, and Robert Jeffress. Bachmann, who ran for president in 2012, operates a clinic with her husband that practices gay conversion therapy, while Dobson is the head of Focus on the Family, the longtime anti-gay lobby group.
For Mr. Trump, who also has been holding behind closed doors meetings with noted anti-gay figures like Pat Robertson, E.W. Jackson and Tony Perkins, kowtowing to the interests of homophobic extremists is not merely lip service. The CEO’s policies on the gay community have notably shifted to the far right in recent months. After initially wagging his finger at HB 2, he now claims he supports the bill. Trump is also in favor of the “First Amendment Defense Act,” a bill that, according to the Human Rights Campaign, would “enable Kim Davis-style discrimination against LGBT people nationwide.”
Most powerfully, he pointed out on a “Face the Nation” appearance earlier in the year how easily an incoming president could reverse every single executive order made by the previous administration on the first day in office. For Trump, that could mean “un-signing,” as he says, an Obama executive order preventing the federal government from hiring contractors that discriminate against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
If voters back Trump in November, LGBT people won’t get the America we deserve, as Trump effusively promised in his 2000 manifesto. We will get the America of 35 years ago.

Trump must be defeated at all cost.

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