LGBTQ rights have started out the Donald Trump administration with a shocking symbol: they’ve been erased from the White House webpage altogether.
Along with abortion and climate change, the page detailing the executive positions on LGBTQ rights no longer exists. It’s a disturbing sign for queer and transgender people who have been extremely nervous in the face of Donald’s incoming team — an anxiety that Trump is no doubt aware of.
While Trump did break with Republican tradition by mentioning LGBTQ people more often than many other candidates in the past, and often in more flattering terms, even gay Republican groups were often unconvinced by his rhetoric. The Log Cabin Republicans, the United States’ premiere queer conservative group, refused to endorse him because of a perceived lack of consistency on his position, reported CNN.
“As Mr. Trump spoke positively about the LGBTQ community in the United States, he concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisers with a record of opposing LGBTQ equality, and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called ‘First Amendment Defense Act’ that Log Cabin Republicans opposes.”
Most heavily scrutinized of the Trump cabinet has probably been his pick for vice president, Mike Pence. While Pence most recently faced criticism for pushing through a religious freedom act as governor of Indiana, a 2000 campaign promise to redirect funding from HIV/AIDS treatments and research to gay conversion therapy has perhaps been most emblematic of why LGBTQ people are nervous about what he will do as vice president, not to mention as president if Donald is impeached.
The Obama administration is generally considered to be progressive on LGBTQ rights by most within the community. Same-sex marriage and employee discrimination protections — specifically when it comes to federal benefits and the military — were both solidified during his two terms in office. Similarly, the White House page previously featured the government’s “It Gets Better” campaign, which sought to curb suicide among young people who faced bullying over their gender identity or sexuality.
Such a move is unsettling to LGBTQ advocates, especially those who fear that Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education Betsy DeVos will not be an ally for the traditionally marginalized group. DeVos and her family have a long history of support for anti-LGBT efforts in her home state of Michigan, including offering money to groups that condone gay conversion therapy. When asked about appearing as vice president for a foundation that had donated $500 million to anti-gay group Focus on the Family, DeVos claimed that it was a clerical error, reported VICE.
Trans people, who made an unprecedented stride in visibility during the Obama years, are perhaps most vulnerable to the possible hostility of a Trump presidency. Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality released a statement expressing distrust of DeVos’ attitude toward LGBTQ students, reported Salon.
“The Secretary of Education must have the interests of all students in mind, and everything we have seen from Betsy DeVos suggests that she will not. The hundreds of thousands of transgender students around the nation deserve better than a Secretary of Education who has donated huge sums of money to organizations that have called transgender people ‘broken.'”
That’s not to say that all LGBTQ people were against Trump. Controversial trans celebrity Caitlyn Jenner was vehemently opposed to a Hillary Clinton presidency, and was seen at an official pre-inauguration event. Another collective of Gays for Trump received a heavy backlash online, but not enough to deplete their numbers entirely. According to exit polls, around 14 percent of LGBTQ voters cast their ballot in favor of Donald, reported Pink News. These numbers were down nearly 10 percentage points from 2008 and 2012, when 23 and 22 percent voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney, respectively.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]