Over 2,000 people attended a rally Saturday afternoon outside New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn. While the official goal of the protest was stated as a solidarity rally for the LGBT community to stand with anyone affected by Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations, it has spiraled into a rally against the Trump administration’s rumored changes to legislation protecting LGBT rights.
The rumors have sprung from a leaked draft of an executive order showing sweeping federal authorization of discrimination against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom. The document would reportedly seek to create exemptions for people and organizations claiming religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage and transgender identity.
Starting at 2 p.m., the rally saw people flock to the iconic bar, signs in hand, to voice their condemnation of the new president and his actions. Above a chorus of “Dump Trump,” The Guardian spoke to New York City council-member and organizer of the rally Corey Johnson. Johnson said the order was shocking and had the potential to be disastrous if the president signed it.
“He may not have come out yet and said he wants to persecute gay people but Trump has appointed senior people and cabinet members who are anti-gay and his collusion with the religious right is the equivalent of making a pact with the professional anti-gay forces.”
Also attending the rally was Australia Kimbrough, a New Yorker who explained her reasons for attending.
“We are going to go there and fight about this, I’ve been trying to block out what Trump’s been doing because it’s so depressing, but they are trying to legalize discrimination and that really makes me sad and angry, there has been so much bad news when he has been in office for such a short time.”
The Stonewall Inn has been newly recognized as the first U.S. National monument dedicated to the LGBT rights movement, so it is only fitting that the bar was the site of Saturday’s rally. Considering the massive strides made towards LGBT equality under the Obama administration and Trump’s mission to reverse Obama-era legislation as quickly as possible, the concern in the LGBT community is understandable.
Alt-Fact Kelly is at NYC's LGBT solidarity protest at Stonewall Inn. pic.twitter.com/xyhOqxBMJU— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) February 4, 2017
A source originally advised that Trump planned to reveal the executive order at the National Prayer Breakfast last Tuesday. It is unclear whether the administration decided against signing the order or has chosen to push back the reveal due to the current backlash against several other Trump directives.
It has also been reported that Trump has considered rescinding protections for LGBT employees of the federal government that were put in place by President Obama.
A photo posted by Erin Dunne (@dunnezo0) on
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, both known to hold significant influence over the president, have reportedly strongly encouraged Trump not to sign the order, while suggesting he reaffirm his commitment to the LGBT community in a White House briefing that occurred last week.
“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”
New York Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer was also at Saturday’s rally, with a powerful message for the LGBT community.
“Let me remind people of why we’re here. The pioneers at Stonewall were alone, but they fought and fought and eventually they won. We are gonna do the same thing!”
[Featured image by James Patterson/ AP Images]