It is known fact that Republicans had never liked LGBTQ community. LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer. Most of the Republican Presidents and those who also ran for Oval office had always taken a tough stand against this community. When US President Donald Trump ran for the White House, there was little hope that he would be any different from other Republican runners. However, Trump promoted an anti-establishment and an outsider image, which could have led transgender to think that he might be different on the issue.
But what has Trump actually done for the LGBTQ? Let's check out the whole story for further info.
Initially, that hope was cemented when Trump on his campaign said he would protect the people from LGBTQ community and to dramatise the incident; he even posed with the LGBTQ flag. The incident gave the idea that there might be something interesting in store for these people. It gave the idea that Trump might continue with what former President Barack Obama started and he might continue to keep the guidance set by Obama administration that protected transgender students in public schools. But, in the later part of his campaign, he promised to revoke this guidance once he comes to power.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration on February 22, 2017, rolled back Obama administration's guidelines related to the use of restrooms by the transgender students. The schools were made to allow transgender students to use washrooms that suited their chosen gender instead of the one written on their birth certificates.
Rebuffing these guidelines, Trump has risked putting transgender student community in a precarious position. His tweet, dated June 14, 2016, where he said, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary [Clinton] brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs" has been termed as hypocritical after the revocation and rejection.
What made him revoke the Obama guidance?
Yet the hope was not there to stay for long. As Trump got elected in November election, he has not spoken a word for this community. Rather he repealed an Obama-era guidance that was issued last May. The guidelines pushed by Obama was designed to protect transgender people from abuse, especially on school campuses, and to give them a sense of dignity and equality.
Trump justified his action of revoking the guidance by arguing that Obama administration has overreached in interpreting federal civil rights law, and the matter should be left to states.
The argument here is not whether it was over-interpretation or under-interpretation of the constitution, rather it is that this guidance made transgender feel protected on school campuses, and created a scenario of inclusiveness and freedom. It is worth mentioning here that Trump rescinded Obama-era guidance despite getting public letters from LGBTQ community pleading with him to keep the previous administration's guidance. And Trump who was all aggressive with signing one executive order after another, still did what he had to, that is to go ahead with scrapping the guidance.
Trump has been consistent in opposing marriage equality and has declined to support equality act. He justifies his stand by saying that he is a traditional guy. He has also expressed his backing for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), a bill introduced into the House of Representatives and Senate in 2015. In its form, the bill will prevent the federal government from taking action against a person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The rationale behind the bill is based on two sets of beliefs "(1) Marriage is or should be recognised as the union of a man and woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." The FADA, which Trump said he would support, uses 'religious freedom' to legalise discrimination.
As the content of the bill suggests, it could be devastating for LGBTQ people, and it will render improvement that we have made as a society on these issues useless. It will take us back to where we started and abuse against LGBTQ is anticipated to rise post-implementation of the bill. With Republicans controlling the government and Senate, it creates a scary situation, a situation which we cannot fathom and which we do not want to see become a reality.
Since Trump administration has thrown in signs that it might not be different from other Republican officials, is there hope that something good might come from the community in coming years of Trump era? The answer to that question sounds like a sad 'No'. Let us put things in perspective in here by having a look at who are the people surrounding Trump in White House. Firstly, Trump has not come out in support of the community; rather it has been opposite of that. Secondly, his vice president pick Mike Pence, a hardcore conservative, does not have any different stand on the issue.
Pence signed a bill that allows businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of their sexual orientation. Thirdly, the people who surround him in the White House such as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. They are hard-line conservatives and have a history of being racists. It is highly unlikely that with these ideologues circling Trump, any good is going to come on the issue.
Rather, we might be seeing an all-out anti-LGBTQ rhetoric coming to fore in the coming years. All said we cannot stop to hope that Trump's heart might change in coming years. However, the chances are really slim.
Come what may, the spirit to resist should be alive!