November 8th 2016 saw the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. Presidential race.
On January 20th 2017, he assumed his role. Both the President, and Vice President Pence have been viewed by some in the LGBTQ+ community as ‘non-supporters.’
Holistically, it is unfair to consider the new administration anti-LGBTQ+ as Trump had Peter Thiel, an openly gay tech industry leader speak at the Republican national convention and later join his transition team. Trump also stated “as your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ+ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
When asked during the campaign if Trump supported marriage equality his response was “It’s irrelevant because it was already settled. Its law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done… I’m fine with that.”
Yet, it must not be forgotten who works for Trump. Vice President Pence has made numerous statements that put him at odds with the LGBTQ+ community. As reported by The New York Times, Pence said “gay couples signaled ‘societal collapse.’”
According to the July 18th 2006 official Congressional Record, Pence was quoted on saying in the House of Representatives floor, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” Pence has also stated within the corridors of Capitol Hill that being gay is a choice.
Pence is also no friend of the Trans community as he was an opponent to Barrack Obama’s initiative that would have schools allow students use the restroom they felt most comfortable with and not the one that necessarily reflected their legal sex.
Pence advocated that this is an issue that should be dealt with on a state by state basis and that it is not the federal governments’ business to involve themselves in these manners.
Jeff Sessions, long serving Senator from Alabama has been nominated by Trump to be the Attorney General of the U.S. The Attorney General is the highest law enforcement official in the country as well as the chief lawyer of the United States.
As of print, Mr. Sessions has not been confirmed by the Senate as required to assume his position but if he does become the Attorney General, many in the LGBTQ+ community would consider that a defeat.
During his confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked if he supported the federal marriage equality law. He responded by saying that he would “respect and follow” the law, but stated he was personally opposed to it.
The LGBTQ+ advocacy group, ‘The Human Rights Campaign’ the largest in the U.S., gave Sessions a zero rating. This was done because as a U.S. Senator, he voted against many bills that afforded more rights and protections to the LGBTQ+ community.
Cabinet officials such as Pence and Sessions are two public figures the LGBTQ+ community view as detrimental to their cause – sparking post-inauguration protests.
One of the goals of the women’s march on January 21st was LGBTQ+ rights. These protesters, predominately female, wanted to spread the message that LGBTQ+ people in America demand equality.
As reported by slate.com, there were large “queer protests” at the inauguration. The majority of these protestors identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community and are a part of the larger ‘disrupt J20’ (disrupt January 20th) protests aimed at President Trumps inauguration.
They were seen dancing and sprinkling glitter on the streets of D.C. in an act of social disobedience and defiance against Trump and his administration. Demonstrators have re-vamped Trump’s campaign slogan, chanting “make America gay again.”
Some of these protestors were also involved with the “gay dance party” that took place in front of VP Mike Pence’s home. A call to action for this “giant queer dance party” stated, “Get ready to “werk” it and tell Daddy Pence: homo/transphobia is not tolerated in our country!”
Although chaotic, January 20th also saw solidarity with the president as disruptJ20 protestors were marching amongst Bikers for Trump, a pro-Trump organization.
The White House official website, whitehouse.gov, had an LGBTQ+ rights page under President Obama. Since the inauguration of President Trump, that page has been removed.
In the wake of the inauguration, political and social satirists have stood in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Saturday Night Live and other similar entertainment outlets have satirized President Trump’s opinions to bring awareness to the issues that LGBTQ+ people will be facing.
As the U.S. enters its first few weeks with President Trump, there have already been numerous protests advocating the protections of the LGBTQ+ community, yet no matter what policies and actions the Trump administration enacts, LGBTQ+ organizations promise that more protests are on the horizon and will not stop until absolute equality is achieved in every regard.