Trump and gay rights reality

I have literally one student who is a zealous Trump supporter.  And he’s gay.  Really kind of amazing.  Anyway, I found this posting really powerful from a gay PS professor friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

I respect that some of you voted for Trump. I don’t think that you hate me, obviously, but I do think that your vote was not a vote to support my rights given Trump’s statements about wanting to overturn the marriage ruling and his support for “religious freedom” bills that legalize discrimination against people like me. I’m not going to apply a litmus test to you the way Trump said that overturning same-sex marriage is a litmus test for his Supreme Court appointees. I am going to apply it to my mother though. I spent nine months in her uterus, not yours. If she loves me the way that she says she does, then she needs to support me through her actions rather than obsessing over conspiracy theories about Muslims and murders. But at least she has been clear now that those things are more important to her than me. Am I being selfish and taking this personally? Sure – because it is personal if you belong in any marginalized group where your rights depend on politics.

Second, I’m terrified about what Trump means for our country, but I’m also terrified about what he means for my rights: not so much that there will be a sudden rollback of my personal liberties. I’m more afraid that the anti-gay people that his party empowers will see this as an opportunity to deny my rights through bureaucratic actions knowing that the federal government and eventually perhaps the Trump-shaped courts will side with them. I’m afraid that this will be an opportunity for states to openly defy the marriage ruling, and that a Trump Department of Justice will support them. I’m afraid that anti-gay politicians like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and our entire congressional delegation from [anonymous state] will see Trump as a rubber stamp for bills that restrict my liberties like a federal religious freedom bill. Will I have fewer rights as a gay person in four years than I do today? I’m afraid that the answer is yes, no matter what anyone says otherwise. So maybe for me and people like me, the prudent thing to do is to get married now while you can. I know public policy is complicated, but fundamentally if come January if the state of [anonymous state] suddenly tries in some way to ignore or nullify same-sex marriages, I don’t trust that I will have a government under Trump that will protect me.

For my Trump-supporting friends, congrats. The electoral college gave your guy a win. But also realize, your team controls everything come January, and you have to own it (and him) without scapegoating the Democrats if your team fails. Also realize, more Americans supported Clinton than Trump, so think hard before you divine any mandate from this. Trump won because of the system, ironically, not because “the people” “chose” him per se. And when Trump nominates a Supreme Court justice who will take back my rights and when/if he signs a federal religious freedom bill, no matter how you may rationalize away those things now, please think of what that means for people like me. This is a zero-sum game: your win is a loss for my liberties. I still want to be your friend even if we never talk about this, but just appreciate that for LGBT people and so many other minority groups who have been the target of Trump or whom Republicans don’t have a history of supporting, we’re going to spend the next four years living in fear to some degree. But that’s just politics.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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