Donald Trump made history at the Republican National Convention by daring to utter a string of five letters: “LGBTQ.”
More specifically, he said, “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Fla., 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted the LGBTQ community. No good, and we’re going to stop it. I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”
And people applauded, which prompted Trump to say, “I have to say, as a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”
The moment was kind of surreal. It was also completely at odds with the Republican Party platform, which even GOP apologists, the Log Cabin Republicans, said was the most antigay in history.
So does Trump’s stated support of LGBTQ people negate his party’s platform? Has Trump gone rogue?
Um, no. And also, no.
Let’s take a close look at what he said. What he’s vowing to protect LGBTQ people from is “a hateful foreign ideology.” In other words, he’s talking about “radical Islam,” and I believe that the applause he received was more anti-Islam rather than pro-gay. Even if he hadn’t referenced foreign terrorists, giving LGBTQ people a shout out after the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando is literally the least he could do. It’s hardly a courageous stance.
Don’t forget that Trump isn’t pro-gay. He isn’t pro-LGBTQ rights. For one thing, he did not acknowledge the hateful antigay ideology that exists right here in America. If anything, he pledged his support to that ideology by selecting Mike Pence, a man with a long and storied anti-LGBTQ record, as his veep.
Trump himself has said that he doesn’t support marriage equality and that he would seek to appoint Supreme Court justices that would undo that landmark decision. Granted, he changes his mind about almost everything on a rotating basis — he’s nothing if not inconsistent. But I highly doubt that he’s all of a sudden going to be the marshal in a Pride parade.
Conservatives are by and large supporting Trump because they want a Republican, even a bat-shit crazy one, appointing Supreme Court justices.
That’s not to say Trump didn’t anger some with his LGBTQ reference in his convention speech.
Alexandra DeSanctis, writing for the National Review, lamented that Trump threw conservatives “under the bus.”
“Never has the party or its members questioned the right to life — or the very humanity — of LGBT people in the way Trump not-so-subtly implied,” she writes.
Lol. Wut? I’m not sure how closely DeSanctis has been following the decades-long assault on LGBT people and their families being waged by the GOP, but she apparently has a very different definition of “humanity” than I do. The right to love, to share a consensual sexual relationship with another human being, to marry, to parent, the right to exist rather than be declared crazy and dangerous and subjected to humiliating “therapy” and punitive laws — the GOP is against all of those things. It’s in their goddamn platform.
While antigay conservatives no doubt bristled at Trump’s remarks and pro-gay conservatives cheered, the fact of the matter is Trump is a phony who will say anything to get elected. A Trump presidency would put the brakes on progressive momentum that has shepherded so many LGBT civil-rights gains. Sadly, Americans have a short historical memory — one need only look at Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan for proof. He’s a man looking backwards.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock and roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister and teaches writing at the University of Michigan.