Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Trump/Pence Assault On LGBTQ Equality Is Already Underway

Most voters - including those who voted for Der Fuhrer and Mike Pence - know little about Pence's anti-LGBT extremism.  In some ways he is more frightening than Trump himself other than the fact that he may be less likely to start a world war. And given Der Fuhrer's promises to the Christofascists, Pence now is seemingly being given free rein to launch a major assault on LGBT rights in ways that range from Trump cabinet nominees, almost all of whom have a documented anti-LGBT history, to the likely passage of the disingenuously named "First Amendment Defense Act" that will legalize anti-LGBT discrimination across the board.   How bad things will get is hard to know, but I have numerous friends quickly working on their dual citizenship as a fall back safe guard.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the assault that has already begun.  Here are highlights:
I’m not going to sugarcoat this at all. We are in for a full-blown assault on LGBTQ rights the likes of which many, particularly younger LGBTQ people, have not seen. Progress will most certainly be halted completely, likely rolled back. And it’s already underway.

First, forget any of your thinking that Donald Trump is from New York City, probably has gay friends, sent Elton John a congratulatory note on his civil union in 2005, used the term “LGBTQ” (in pitting gays against Muslims at the Republican National Convention, when he vowed only to protect us from a “hateful foreign ideology”) or any other superficial things you may have read or heard.

Ronald Reagan was from Hollywood, and he, too, had many gay friends, including legendary actor Rock Hudson. Reagan even came out against an anti-gay state initiative while he was governor of California. But once Reagan made his pact with the religious right leaders in his 1980 successful run for the presidency ― for him, among them was Jerry Falwell, Sr., for Trump it’s Jerry Falwell Jr.― he had to bow to them if he wanted to get re-elected in 1984.

Earlier in the year, before Mike Pence was chosen as Donald Trump’s running mate, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, using Trump’s analogy of running a business to explain how he’d run the country, told HuffPost’s Howard Fineman that the vice president of the Trump administration would really be the “CEO” or “COO” ― or, the president of the company ― while Trump would be more like the “chairman of the board”. . . . 

Mike Pence is perhaps one of the most anti-LGBTQ evangelical Christian political crusaders to serve in Congress and as governor of a state. Long before he signed the draconian anti-LGBTQ “religious liberty” law in Indiana last year, he supported “conversion therapy” as a member of Congress, and later, as a columnist and radio host, he gave a speech in which he said that marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse,” and called homosexuality “a choice.” Stopping gays from marrying wasn’t biased, he said, but was rather about compelling “God’s idea.”

As I‘ve written over and over again throughout the election campaign ― as the media had bizarrely and irresponsibly portrayed Trump as “more accepting on gay issues ― Trump met with religious extremists, and made promises to them. He promised he would put justices on the Supreme Court who would overturn marriage equality (and the list of 20 candidates he has offered, certainly fit the bill), which he’s consistently opposed himself since 2000. He promised that he would sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow for discrimination against LGBT people by government employees and others.

Trump has said he would overturn what he saw as President Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, and those could include Obama’s orders on LGBTQ rights, such as banning employment discrimination among federal contractors.

Mike Pence, as Dominic Holden at Buzzfeed points out, has already said that he and Trump plan to withdraw federal guidance to the states issued by the Obama administration protecting transgender students

If Trump treats the presidency the same way he treated the GOP convention in Cleveland, he’ll make gestures ― like giving Thiel a role in his administration or using the initialism “LGBTQ”― that will feed the media notion that he is somewhat pro-LGBTQ, while giving the nuts and bolts of halting or rolling back progress on LGBTQ rights to others. 

If Trump is thus as hands-off on LGBTQ issues as president as he was at the RNC, letting people like Pence ― again, possibly the most powerful vice president ever ― get his way, along with people like Carson, Blackwell, Gingrich and likely many others, you can bet that the assault on LGBTQ rights is already underway. It’s only a matter of time before we know the full magnitude. And that’s why we must pull ourselves out of grief, get fired up, and begin the fight right now.

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