One rather queer aspect of the Donald Trump phenomenon is that people so expect to be offended by his paroxysms of intolerance that they haven’t noticed there’s one group the president-elect has never scapegoated, attacked, or belittled: LGBT Americans. Trump’s reserve on gay matters, coming from a politician so promiscuous with his vituperation, represents a welcome (albeit curious) watershed in LGBT history. Yet Big Gay is girding for a wave of persecution from the inchoate Trump Administration.
Big Gay – the putative opinion-makers encompassing organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, cultural figures like George Takei, and openly gay politicians like Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) – has for decades shown a reflexive aversion to conservatives and Republicans. “Benefit of the doubt” and “finding common ground” are not in their toolkit concerning those who lean right.
Trump’s initial signals, however, offer more promise to LGBT Americans than those of any previous Republican party leader:
- In his speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC), Trump made history with a promise to “do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens” from attacks like the one at an Orlando gay nightclub six weeks earlier. And, beaming at a Colorado rally 10 days before the election, he showcased a rainbow flagemblazoned with “LGBTs for TRUMP.”
- Many of Trump’s advisers and appointees would be unthinkable in previous, less tolerant GOP administrations. For example, Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson was said to be instrumental in changing the Boys Scouts’ exclusionary policies when he headed that organization. And openly gay businessman Peter Thiel spoke at the RNC and serves on Trump’s transition team.
- Even on a hot-button issue like transgender bathroom access, Trump has shown inclusive instincts – inviting Caitlyn Jenner to use any bathroom in his buildings that she wanted – which she did.
- Trump has indicated no plans to roll back gay marriage, saying it’s no longer a legally contested issue.
- At a time when transition team members have publicly questioned Obama Administration policies regarding women’s rights and climate change, no similar challenges have targeted the administration’s pro-gay steps. In fact, when conservative Christian leader Tony Perkins proposed that “LGBTQ activists… be ferreted out and will be replaced by conservatives,” a Trump spokesman said the president-elect “campaigned on a message of unity in order to bring all Americans together…. that discrimination of any kind will be condoned or tolerated in a Trump administration is simply absurd.”
Certainly, the Trump Administration will not be as gay-friendly as one led by Hillary Clinton. But what do you expect? LGBT Americans were firmly in the Democrat camp, whereas only 14 percent of the gay electorate voted for Trump. Since Evangelical Christians actually were a major part of the Republican coalition, the fact this administration is addressing gay concerns at all is heartening.
(via: Daily Caller)