Sunday, 13 November 2016

President Trump: LGBT fear an attack on rights

Minorities are undoubtably the ones who will suffer from President Trump, when he takes office in January and LGBT activists fear an attack on rights, which have been fought for not just for years, but for decades.

As a starting point just look at Vice President Elect Mike Pence and his attacks on LGBT people, including saying he thought marriage equality would lead to "societal collapse", calling homosexuality a choice. As a Congressman, the Evangelical Christian said he supported gay cure, or "conversion therapy" as it's known.

In recent times, as Senator for Indiana, Pence signed into law an anti-gay "religious freedom" bill, in the State, which essentially gave businesses the right not to serve people, for example same sex couples, and cite their religious beliefs as a defence, in order to avoid prosecution for discrimination. The bill was widely criticised even within the Republican party, with the Republican Mayor of Indianapolis saying it sent the wrong signal of the State and the City.

Vice President Elect Mike Pence
This prospect is quite scary for LGBT in the States and their allies around the World, as Pence will head Donald Trump's transition team and political commentators in the States believe Pence could be one of the most powerful VP's in US history. So I think LGBT in America can be forgiven for feeling alarmed as Trump prepares to take office.

And it's not just Pence! Ken Blackwell, who will lead domestic policy on the Trump transition team has in the past compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania, calling it a compulsion. Furthermore Ben Carson, who ran for the Republication nomination has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest, Carson has been named a vice chairman of the transition team.

Then there's Trump himself who has promised he will rescind all of Obama's executive orders, which include protections for gay and lesbian people working for federal contractors.

Fear, it seems, has really set in since Tuesday with a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign saying the top search on the group's website is "should I hurry and get married?", as LGBT people fear same sex marriage legislation may be rescinded when the Trump administration take over in January.

The Human Rights Campaign on Sunday sent out a message of unity and strength to LGBT people, saying HRC was there for LGBTQ people at this time...

In fairness to the President Elect he did make comments on LGBTQ citizens at the Republican National Convention, when he said he would "protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of foreign ideologies".

But I am extremely skeptical of this pledge. It sounds to me that Trump was using it more as a weapon to incite more hatred for foreigners than anything else. After all LGBT people need protection from oppression and violence from fellow American citizens first and foremost if you ask me.

I think we really need to come together and support each other even more at a time like this. As a British citizen and a gay man, I am so happy I do not live in the US right now, I can't imagine the concern among the LGBT community there.

But we can support each other as one global LGBT community, and at this point this is all just fear, no decisions have been made, no policies enacted, so this is not a time to panic, hope is not lost and young LGBT people especially need to know that, especially those who may be in the process of coming out, who feel even less confident about doing so since the election result. In the end love always wins, that's all we need to remember.

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