On Tuesday, White America chose to elect the most anti-LGBT presidential ticket over a campaign that made LGBT rights a priority like never before. Incredibly, a man who has sided himself with a dangerous Republican platform, who has no previous governmental or military experience, is the President-elect of United States of America.
LGBT people lost out in this election, make no mistake. Hillary Clinton had the most comprehensive pro-LGBT policy platform we have ever seen
. Clinton promised to support the Equality Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that would protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. She committed herself to HIV prevention, supporting LGBT elders, make it easier for trans people to get correct documentation and work to end violence against their community. Clinton spoke out against conversion therapy and promised to work on LGBT rights around the world. Trump didn’t even have an LGBT policy proposal on his website.
Instead, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with white evangelicals who are notoriously Islamophobic, anti-LGBT, anti-black – against all communities that didn’t uphold a white male status quo. Trump didn’t offer any pro-LGBT policy stances, or very many other public policy platforms, only telling us to “ask the gays.”
The gays responded, overwhelmingly, in support of Hilary Clinton and her robust LGBT support. Still there was some support in the LGBT community. According to a New York Times exit poll,
14% of LGBT people supported Trump. If this support mirrors Trump’s national constituency, it is likely to have come from a significant minority of white LGBT people.
Indeed, those LGBT supporters who unabashedly supported Trump where largely white gay men.
This support came despite Trump nominating a running-mate (and now future Vice President) who has made anti-LGBT policies a cornerstone to his political career. Gov. Mike Pence signed a religious freedom law that allowed for discrimination of LGBT people in public spaces. Pence has said that marriage equality would bring the collapse of society, has actively opposed laws that prohibited discrimination against LGBT people, opposed the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell', supports the conversion therapy for youth.
Eliel Cruz is an LGBT activist based in New York.
Together, these men are now headed to the White House. Individuals in the trans community are scurrying to get proper documentation before their chance to have their government recognize their gender is closed. LGBT youth are worried about forced conversion therapy. Those in same-sex marriages are worried at the prospect of a Trump administration filled with individuals seeking ways to revoke their marriage licenses.
Yet to focus only on 'LGBT issues' is to lack an understanding of the complexity of our identities. It is also the reason we lost last night.
Women – yes even queer women – are rushing to get coils before a man who said women should perhaps be punished for abortions enters the oval office. Immigrants – yes even LGBT immigrants – grieve at the thought this may be the last holiday season with their loved ones. Black communities – yes even queer black folk – are concerned for their lives from a candidate that supports a racist police system.
This is the reality of a Trump presidency. This is why we lost and why we will continue to lose. If White America – even white gay America – only sees their issues as important ones, it is minority groups who will continue to feel brunt of their apathy. Black, women, Latinx, immigrant, disabled – all these community issues are
LGBT issues. Intersectionality isn’t a buzzword but the lens in which many of us who occupy multiple identities experience the world.
During the next four years of Trump’s presidency, the LGBT community will have to fight like it’s Stonewall. Not only will legal victories to improve the lives of LGBT people will be hard to win, but the gains we have already won when it comes the military and marriage equality are at stake. We must resist as if our lives depend on it – because for many of us they do.
Eliel Cruz is an LGBT activist based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @elielcruz.
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