Friday, January 26, 2018

Blame Trump for Growing Anti-LGBT Backlash

The year 2015 saw heady advances for LGBT Americans under a gay-friendly presidential administration and the Supreme Court's marriage ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.  Fast forward three years and triumph has turned into nightmare as the Trump/Pence wages war on LGBT citizens, argues that we have no civil rights protections and can be rejected by health care professionals that cling to Bronze Age beliefs.  In larger metropolitan areas, most of us still fell some remaining sense of safety, but in the hinterland and "Red America", things must be terrifying for many, especially LGBT youth who may see their hopes for the future fading and suicide perhaps looking more attractive as a means of escape.  An article in the Washington Post looks at the increasing and well justified anxiety felt by many LGBT Americans who now find themselves back in the cross-hairs of hate merchants and a vile White House regime.  Here are excerpts:
The movement for LGBT rights has made stunning progress in recent years. But the latest results of an ongoing poll commissioned by the gay rights organization GLAAD, which is releasing the results at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, suggests that just because change has come swiftly doesn’t mean it’s durable. For the first time since the survey began in 2014, non-LGBT Americans told pollsters that they’re less comfortable with their LGBT neighbors. And the number of LGBT survey respondents who told pollsters that they’d experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity jumped by 11 points. [T]he results suggest that Americans are taking advantage of an environment in which it has become more permissible to express discomfort with marginalized groups, even as people don’t want to be thought of as bigots. The number of non-LGBT Americans who gave what Gerzema called “the PC response,” telling pollsters that they support equal rights for LGBT people, held steady at 79 percent. But the number of respondents who said they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable having LGBT members of their faith communities, learning that a family member was LGBT, having their child taught by an LGBT teacher or study LGBT history in school, finding out that their doctor was LGBT, or even seeing same-sex couples holding hands all ticked upward. President Trump’s most venomous public statements haven’t targeted LGBT Americans. But his policies have, from his selection of Mike Pence as his running mate and Neil Gorsuch as his first Supreme Court nominee to his attempts to ban transgender people from the military. The rollback of LGBT rights may be quiet, but it’s still consequential. . . . . especially w1hen it means failing to respond to rising homophobia and anti-LGBT violence in countries such as Chechnya, Egypt and Indonesia.
 Yet facing off against procedural changes when other Americans have to contend with the president’s undisguised animosity is actually more of a challenge for us, because it keeps it out of the headlines more so than immigration,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.  Philanthropist Ari Getty is supporting some of that work via a $15 million grant to GLAAD that she sees as an investment in the future for her children, August and Natalia, both of whom are LGBT, and their friends. She hopes in particular that storytelling can focus as much on the achievements of LGBT youth as on their struggles. It’s a revelation that progress isn’t always permanent. The Supreme Court struck down elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, and efforts ranging from voter ID laws to attempted purges of voter rolls have made it harder for many Americans to cast their ballots. The Americans who integrated city buses, public schools and lunch counters are held up as heroes even as the country has become increasingly segregated once again. But these reversals represent slow declines after major victories. This rising discomfort with LGBT Americans comes just eight years after Obama signed a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that kept members of the military closeted and a mere 2½ years after a Supreme Court ruling made marriage equality the law of the land. A 2015 GLAAD study found that 50 percent of Americans “said that we were done, that we had achieved full rights and acceptance,” even as “in 29 states, you can still be fired for being LGBT,” Ellis said. 

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