Friday, January 20, 2017

Frighteningly, LGBT Rights Are All Too Easily "Reversible"

Many "friends" who voted for Der Fuhrer and forever linked themselves to Hillary Clinton's aptly described "basket of deplorables" who made up Trump's core base continue to deliberately close their eyes to what they have done to their LGBT friends and family members.  Whether or not they can bring themselves to be honest about the consequences of their vote, LGBT rights are now very much at risk.  At least for a number of years until the aging angry white voters of the GOP base die off and are replaced by LGBT-friendly Millenials and the younger generations that follow them.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at why I and many others are fearful of the future and have even had thoughts of emigrating (the husband and I have not ruled this option out).  Here are article highlights:
On Wednesday, Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson asked President Obama a question that’s on many LGBT Americans’ minds: What’s going to happen to our rights under President Trump and his cabinet? . . . . In response, the outgoing president put a brave face on—but maybe too brave of a face.
“I don’t think it is something that will be reversible because American society has changed; the attitudes of young people, in particular, have changed,” Obama said.
He went on to predict that “there are still going to be some battles that need to take place,” particularly around transgender rights, but that pro-LGBT attitudes among “young people of Malia [and] Sasha’s generation” would ultimately carry the day.
 But how much has American society really “changed” during his tenure?  At the press conference, the president referred to a “transformation that’s taken place in our society” around LGBT rights. But was it an irreversible “transformation” after all? Not quite.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that anti-LGBT sentiment will be an enduring feature of the American cultural and political landscape. And there are no guarantees that the progress the Obama administration has made cannot be turned back.
According to Gallup, just under 30 percent of Americans still believe that same-sex sexual relationships—not even marriages, mind you—should be illegal. Over a third oppose same-sex marriage and 37 percent maintain that “gay or lesbian relations” are “morally wrong.”
Transgender bathroom rights nearly divide the country in half. Taken together, those statistics show a fairly stable cohort of homophobic and transphobic voters who will continue to shape electoral politics for decades to come, even with a rising generation of more tolerant young people entering public life.
[P]olitical advances in LGBT equality don’t necessarily translate into social acceptance.  As The Daily Beast has previously reported, several key measures of anti-LGBT bullying in U.S. high schools only fell by about 2 percent per year between 2005 and 2015, per data from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
According to annual polling commissioned by GLAAD, nearly 37 percent of non-LGBT respondents said in 2015 that they would be uncomfortable with their child having an LGBT history lesson in school.
When a shockingly large percentage of Americans still can’t even handle a same-sex couple kissing on the cheek, it’s hard to buy into the notion that there’s been a radical “transformation” of our society since 2008. And although certain of Obama’s pro-LGBT changes would be easier to retract than others, none of them are written in stone.
Undoing marriage equality would be an ordeal—and it would be hugely unpopular—but it’s still possible if President Trump follows through on his Supreme Court picks and the right cases come along.
By contrast, pro-LGBT protections enacted through executive orders—like anti-discrimination protections for federal contractors—could be quickly and easily eliminated.
Correspondingly, attacks on LGBT rights—such as the ratification of the First Amendment Defense Act—could be easily initiated as The Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman and Jay Michaelson have reported.
Military milestones could crumble as well. Trump’s Secretary of Defense Pick General James Mattis notably did not send any signals that he would undo the Obama administration’s reversal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which banned lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving openly in the military.
But in response to a question about the recent advances in transgender military service, Mattis’ future Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump said last October that the military is getting “politically correct” and it’s “ridiculous.
With Mike Pence as Vice President, Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, and several more Supreme Court vacancies on the horizon, a Trump administration will only be limited by its own restraint when it comes to LGBT issues.
But even though LGBT advances are all too “reversible,” President Obama was spot-on about one thing: the vast majority of young people support full equality. Last April, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans aged 18 to 29 support transgender rights by a two-to-one margin, with Americans over 60 opposing them by the same margin. And according to Pew, over 70 percent of millennials support same-sex marriage.
The only catch is that millenials aren’t voting where it counts and older voters are. . . . . that means that LGBT progress might only be inevitable because death is also inevitable. But unlike death, LGBT advances are definitely reversible.

Let's hope many of the anti-LGBT whites who voted for Trump and Republicans find themselves without healthcare coverage and they will have unwittingly hastened their own demise and indirectly assisted in protecting LGBT rights.  That would be ironic justice.  

No comments: