Monday, September 05, 2016

Trump Poses a Threat to the LGBT Community

Trump with leading anti-LGBT Christofascists
Perhaps being a member of a demographic that has been - and still is - targeted for hatred, discrimination and even potential physical violence makes one more sensitive to potential threats.  I suspect few white Trump supporters have been called a faggot and intimidated by police or had to fear for their physical safety.  Nor have they heard "men of god" call for their murder or criminalization.  Yet for many LGBT Americans, these things happen frequently, especially n rural areas of the country.  Now, we are faced with a Republican presidential candidate and his vice presidential running mate who have said they would role back marriage rights and other civil rights. Indeed, Trump's VP pick has a well documented history of being anti-LGBT.  And yet I find some friends - or at least those who seem to thing of themselves as friends - likely supporting the Trump/Pence ticket, saying it's merely a matter of a difference in political philosophies.  I'm sorry, but taking away my civil rights, opposing non-discrimination protections that would have prevented me from being forced from a law firm merely for being gay is something far, far greater than a mere difference in "political philosophies."  An op-ed at CNN looks at the threat that Trump/Pence poses to the LGBT community both here in America and overseas. Here are highlights:
Recently, ISIS pushed four men off a building in Mosul because they were suspected of being gay. Last month, the Ugandan government detained citizens attending a pride parade and ordered them beaten by other inmates. In Bangladesh, the editor of the nation's only LGBTQ magazine was recently found hacked to death.
As we consider what the 2016 election will mean for LGBTQ equality across the United States, we also can't forget what this election will mean for our global community.
Donald Trump has spent his campaign threatening to undo crucial protections for LGBTQ people in the United States, vowing to appoint judges to the Supreme Court to turn back the legalization of same-sex marriage and supporting state-sanctioned discrimination against transgender people.
He has courted extremists who foment hate both here and export it abroad. His running mate, Mike Pence, as a congressman in 2009, opposed language in federal legislation to monitor and combat human rights violations against LGBTQ people abroad, accusing Democrats of attempting to "promote a gay rights agenda around the globe."
Trump has also sought support from leading exporters of anti-LGBTQ hate, including the Alliance Defending Freedom. Well known for the work it does within US borders, ADF is also spreading hate in countries around the world, from fighting equality in Russia to recruiting and training anti-equality activists in Nepal.
Together, Donald Trump and Mike Pence seem to have little interest in -- and perhaps little understanding of -- the dire plight faced by asylum seekers, including those who seek to flee the violence of ISIS or escape the anti-LGBTQ regime in Russia. And yet, Trump says he's a friend to the LGBTQ community. But let's look at what he would actually do.
Recently, Trump proposed an ideology test on new immigrants that would require those coming into the United States to show they are, among other things, tolerant of LGBTQ people. Putting aside the fact that he and Mike Pence would apparently fail their own ideology test on several fronts, the very existence of such a vetting policy would create another obstacle for refugees —including LGBTQ people fleeing countries where they can literally be put to death simply because of who they are. 
By contrast, today -- thanks to the work of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and others -- LGBTQ people can receive priority resettlement because they face a significant threat of violence, torture, and even death in the countries they are leaving. The policy also prioritizes other vulnerable groups such as children, widows and older refugees, as well as targeted communities like religious and ethnic minorities.
While Trump was busy cozying up to Vladimir Putin back in 2011, Clinton was declaring before the international community that "gay rights are human rights." She was creating the Global Equality Fund, which supports human rights defenders working to protect LGBTQ people in more than 80 countries.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence pose a clear threat to equality here in the United States, particularly when it comes to marriage equality, basic civil rights protections and the makeup of our Supreme Court. But let's also consider what's on the line for the gay teen living in Jamaica or the transgender woman living in Honduras or the men living in daily fear of being exposed, targeted and murdered by ISIS.  For them, our foreign policy can mean life or death.
In a Trump-Pence administration, does anyone think human rights for all will remain a pillar of our foreign policy? Or that our embassies abroad will provide the same beacon of hope to local LGBTQ communities? Or that whomever Trump selects as his secretary of state or UN ambassador will go before the international community to fight against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity?
Would Donald Trump stand up against hateful legislation in countries like Russia and Uganda when he's endorsed the ability of US states to legalize discrimination? The answers to all of those questions are: clearly not.
This election is about many crucial issues of great importance here at home. But we can't forget that we also hold lives in our hands around the globe. Who we elect as our next president will either destroy the progress we've made or continue building toward a world where all LGBTQ people are safe from violence, discrimination and fear. 
For those would be Trump supporters who see themselves as having LGBT friends, I hope they will open their eyes and understand that a vote for Trump/Pence is a vote against those they claim to hold as friends. A history of voting Republican does not justify or excuse voting for a ticket that preaches so much hate and misogyny.  Elections often consist of selecting the lesser of evils.  When it comes to those with LGBT friends and/or family members, voting for Hillary Clinton should be the only option. 

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