The LGBT or LGBTQ community has endured so much over the years both politically and socially and have fought hard to overcome these hardship and win some big battles to get where they (we) are today and two of those victories happened just a couple of days ago. The federal courts ruled in two rulings that gay and lesbian couples are protected by the Fair Housing Act and also LGBT people now have federal protections in the workplace, these are big rulings and clear wins for the community.
The reason that these mean so much are because of who is our president but more importantly who is our vice president. The latter is the bigger issue as Vice President Mike Pence has a long history of anti-LGBT legislation and when he was governor of Indiana you may remember he tried to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA, this piece of legislation tried to basically pass a form of legalized discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and even questioning citizens.
This was a controversial move and one that caused the good people of Indiana great harm but in the people stood up and declared that this is not who they are and they were successful in fighting it with the help of many others in the business and political communities across this country. Pence had to get rid of this bill but now as VP he is trying to bring that same hate and bigotry to the federal government, even if they say they are not. Trust me, the Trump/Pence duo do not value LGBTQ rights, they may say that they do but their actions show us that they do not. The rulings by the courts came just as word is coming out that this administration is considering trying to legalization via the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act”.
These rulings are wins for this community, very big wins. They are saying that for the first time in history LGBT or LGBTQ people are included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This is a very big announcement and we as activists should feel proud of how far we have come, I know that I do. I continue to say both LGBT and LGBTQ community as recently the terminology has changed and the Q was added to acknowledge the questioning people, they matter too and that’s why I mention them even though I am used to saying LGBT, they matter. That is why we do what we do because this entire community matters, even if certain members of our government as well as Republican voters do not value who we are and what we are trying to accomplish.
The attack on transgender rights by removing the direction of the Obama White House to allow transgender students to use the chosen restroom of their gender indemnity by Trump was a clear attack on the rights of this community and it appears more is to come. Another way we know that he is going after the rights of this community is by removing the gay Secretary of the Army and replacing him with a man who has a history of anti-LGBT activism. That is right, the openly gay Obama appointee Eric Fanning is being replaced by very anti-LGBT Republican Mark Green, this is more proof of the anti equality agenda of the Trump White House.
If you need more proof just look at his Supreme Court nominee who likely will be confirmed tomorrow, that is Neil Gorsuch, the man is also very anti-LGBT and has a voting history against their rights and now he will be on the high court ruling on the rights of the community. This was Trump’s plan all along though as he said during his campaign that he wanted to remove the ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. He said it yet like everything he has said or done even when on video his supporters do not believe it, they still claim he will defend our rights while the evidence shows us that he is moving towards doing the opposite.
There are other things this administration has done that show us that they do not value this community like removing the LGBT page from the White house website and removing the LGBTQ questions from the Census. These moves show us that our rights are under attack and that coupled with the increase of hate crimes on LGBTQ people by those who support him and his administration’s reluctance to address these crimes as hate crimes show us where we stand in Trump’s America on equality. These people do not care about equality or the rights of the LGBTQ community but this just means that we must continue to fight for our civil rights and stand up to what him and his fans are trying to do to the many victories the movement accomplished during the Obama years,
Yes, the recent wins are big and they should be celebrated but as I mentioned in my book on the issue Defending Equality, the fight never ends and the challenges that come up must always be fought and met with vigilance and determination so we do not go back to where we were, only go forward to where we are trying to get to. Equality means everyone but don’t tell that to those on the far right, they think that we want “special rights”, they don’t seem to realize that equal means every single person gets the same rights, that is what equality is.
The fight never ends, it is great to have victories on this issue but we must continue on and fight not only the anti-LGBT agenda of the current administration but also the many hate crimes done by homophobic people on the far right, hate never wins. The right likes to excuse their hate by quoting the Bible or by saying that Muslims throw gay people off buildings but we know that is a false narrative as it is clear that those in Trump’s alt right movement have bigotry towards Muslims just like they do with LGBT people, they cannot excuse their bad behavior and hate by showing how others do the same things, that doesn’t excuse what they do.
The hate is wrong all around and we must always stand up for equality, whether we are in this community or any ally of the community. The next several weeks and months will be a challenge but it is a challenge that we can meet if we remain strong and stick to our true values liberals and as resisters. Yes, we have come a long way and recent victories should be something that gives us hope, but the fight must carry on!