When I watched a video of President Obama giving Ellen DeGeneres the Presidential Medal of Freedom and heard him talk about her bravery for coming out back in 1997, I am not ashamed to admit that I cried. But then again, so did Ellen, and so did Obama. So there.
“It’s easy to forget now … just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago,” Obama said. “Just how important it was. Not just to the LGBT community but for all of us.”
And it’s true! The LGBT community has come so far in such a short time. We have made so many gains. And brave people coming out publicly even at great risk to themselves and their careers is a big reason why LGBTQ people are no longer relegated to closets.
Obama is the most LGBT-affirming president this nation has ever known. And he won’t be the last. But man, is his successor a nightmare for LGBT people.
Donald Trump may have dared say “LGBTQ” from the GOP convention stage, but it’s important to remember the context of that utterance. He vowed to protect LGBT people from foreign ideologies. He mentioned nothing about ideologies right here at home.
And yet, some LGBT people bought it. Some LGBT people, and people who love LGBT people, voted for Trump. And it’s safe to say even before he’s inaugurated that they’ve been swindled.
Trump has been busy putting together his cabinet (when he’s not busy complaining about “Saturday Night Live” on Twitter). And what do you know, looks like every single pick so far is anti-LGBT. Every. Fucking. One. Here are some lowlights:
Ben Carson, whom Trump wants to be head of Housing and Urban Development, thinks that being LGBT is “absolutely” a choice and has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. I highlighted anti-public-education crusader Betsy DeVos’ participation in and ties to anti-LGBTQ organizations in a previous column, but it bears repeating that the woman Trump wants to be Education secretary is a foe to the very students who are often most vulnerable in school. No doubt she will scrap the small steps the Obama administration took in making schools safer places for trans students.
Tom Price, Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary, is also against protections for trans students. He also thinks it’s A-OK to fire people for being LGBT and that marriage should be for heterosexuals only. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, tapped to be ambassador to the United Nations, also believes that marriage should be kept away from the gays. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump’s pick for Attorney General, has a long anti-LGBT voting record. Sessions and CIA director pick Mike Pompeo of Kansas have in common efforts to get their state’s definition of marriage to override the federal one to circumvent marriage equality.
I could go on, but I don’t have enough room to detail the level of antigay hate Trump is unleashing on this country. And he’s just getting started. Wait until he announces a Supreme Court nominee. Anyone who voted for him expecting LGBT people to find any kind of safe harbor under his administration was wildly delusional.
Now those LGBT people might very well point out that they aren’t single-issue voters. And I get that. Nobody is. But I have to ask, if you vote against your very own humanity, then what other issues even exist?