Why, as a Queer Trans Woman, Donald Trump is #NotMyPresident
February 15, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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Over the course of his political campaign, I and many others, have been shocked at how effortlessly Donald Trump has managed to offend and attack almost every single minority group, facing almost no repercussions. However, there has been one group of people in particular that he has not openly condemned, the LGBTQ community. I attach this lack of action against the LGBTQ community to the fact that holding prejudice against queer and trans people is seen as a faux pas in the current political climate. One example of this is the fact that countries have to take a positive stance on LGBTQ rights in order to gain entry into the EU, no matter how vehemently their leadership is opposed to granting queer and trans people basic human dignity. Somehow, being openly bigoted towards LGBTQ people is less acceptable than being vehemently racist and xenophobic, as Donald Trump has been over the tenure of his political campaign. I’ll let you fill in the blanks as to why racism and xenophobia are less volatile than bigotry towards LGBTQ people. However, despite Donald Trump’s lack of action towards the LGBTQ people, somehow I’m not convinced he has our best interests in heart.
Following the shooting at Pulse in Orlando over the summer, republicans who had no concern for the wellbeing of their LGBTQ constituents previously began openly condemning this violence and standing in solidarity with us. As a hen, it would not be in my best interest to start trusting foxes, no matter how they may compliment me and insist on protecting me. After the attack, Donald Trump openly condemned his political opponent and said, “Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country.” While at surface level Donald Trump appears to be defending the “gay community” (failing to recognize the complexity of the queer and trans experience by using a monolithic term), a more nuanced analysis shows that President Trump has no concern for the LGBTQ community and is only using us as a token to scapegoat Muslim people. His condemnation of the attack does not acknowledge that the man who went through with this attack was born in the U.S. This lack of acknowledgement does nothing to expose the culture of hatred towards queer and trans people within the United States, making it seem that bigotry towards queer and trans people is an import from the Middle East. I would also like to note that President Trump made no effort to visit Orlando and pay respects to the victims and their families, unlike his political opponent and the former president. We need to be finding ways to make sure that people within our borders are not killing queer and trans people which, quite frankly, is not a main objective I see in either the Trump or Obama administration.
In relation to this, it is important to highlight Vice President Mike Pence’s opposition to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability status under identities that are protected by hate crime provisions. He called this law “a radical social agenda” though I’m not entirely sure how there is anything radical is saying that Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998 because of his sexuality.
Also, Trump has gone on record to say he “will not touch” Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that instated same-sex marriage in the United States. Forgive me for not jumping for joy over an elected official literally doing the bare minimum and obeying the law. Malcolm X once said, “if you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress.” Let me be very clear, by guaranteeing to not repeal my rights, you do not even begin to touch the knife of heterosexism and cissexism in my back. The deep and festering wound is still there and I carry it around with me every day.
While Donald Trump’s stance on queer and trans rights may be murky, let me fill in the blanks for you when it comes to the ever lovely Vice President, Mike Pence. Pence is a direct threat to the autonomy of queer and trans people, especially those in need of reproductive services. Under his tenure as governor of Indiana, Pence instated extremely restrictive policies concerning access to reproductive services and was complicit in the shutdown of multiple Planned Parenthood clinics, particularly in Southeastern Indiana. Though limiting access to Planned Parenthood may not be seen as a direct attack towards queer and trans people, it does prevent severely restrict queer and trans people’s access to abortion, low income queer and trans people’s access to affordable healthcare, and trans people’s access to hormones. Following this shut down of Planned Parenthood clinics, we saw a dramatic spike of HIV cases in Southeastern Indiana. Mike Pence’s actions in limiting people’s access to reproductive services caused an HIV epidemic in the state of Indiana and taking into consideration the historic legacy of HIV in the United States, queer and trans people cannot survive another administration that limits access to reproductive services and comprehensive sexual education. Simply put, queer and trans people cannot endure the Reagan administration 2.0.