Why, as a Queer Trans Woman, Donald Trump is #NotMyPresident (Part Two)
February 24, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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Before this outbreak of HIV in his state, Mike Pence has campaigned for limiting the funding towards HIV prevention education and services in Illinois. While campaigning in 2000 he said he wanted to make sure “federal dollars were no longer going to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the HIV virus.” I’m not entirely sure of what organizations encourage behaviors that facilitate HIV as I’ve never heard of a comprehensive sex ed program that encourages unprotected sex. Perhaps though, one could infer that Pence is saying that HIV prevention education should not promote health sexuality or discuss the experiences of queer people, an at-risk population when it comes to HIV infection. This is a very interesting statement to make indeed, especially when Illinois does not require sex ed to cover HIV prevention, sex ed to be medically accurate, or sex ed to include information on sexual orientation. Instead of referring to statistics and studies that would inform Pence on policies and programs that reduce rates of HIV, he then went on to say that, “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” He does not specifically refer to which behaviors should be changed but reading between the lines draws a pretty strong case for Pence’s support of and belief in conversion therapy for queer and trans people. Indiana currently is 1 of 44 states that allow conversion therapy. Pence’s staunch opposition to preserving the livelihood of his queer and trans constituents compels me to draw only one conclusion; the Vice President is not going to stand up for my rights when I need him to. Since Mike Pence has continuously shown his great influence over and involvement in the President’s legislative decision, I am gravely concerned about this administration’s treatment of LGBTQ people.
There is a long history of the more privileged people within the LGBTQ movement (middle class white gay and lesbian people) actively ignoring and opposing the human dignity of working class queer and trans people of color. This strategy can be very effective as a lot of even the most liberal people may not understand why a black trans woman makes “such a ruckus” about her entitlement to justice when everyday she has to deal with hearing a mix of racialized, gendered, and homophobic slurs even though all she is doing is trying to live in a society that is built upon being opposed to her survival. It is apparent that mainstream LGBTQ movements and media to not have the decency necessary to include working class queer and trans people of color. Just recently Milo Yiannopoulos, poster child of the Alt Right, a white nationalist group of people with a strong presence on the internet and honestly do not deserve to be called a movement, appeared on the cover of Out Magazine. This magazine’s commitment to spreading the message of a white supremacist, who made absolutely awful statements about trans people in this article, before showing the beauty and power of working class queer and trans people of color demonstrates how easily privileged people within the LGBTQ community will ignore the needs of those within the community who experience multiple forms of oppression. But let me make myself very clear, I will never turn my back on the people within my community who are in desperate need of justice. No matter how much President Trump tries to stoke the fear of the public against immigrants and Muslim people, I will always stand in solidarity with my Muslim and migrant siblings, queer and straight, undocumented and documented, trans and cis. President Trump continuously uses the LGBTQ community as a token that is in dire need of protection and concurrently scapegoats immigrant and Muslim communities, trying to make us think that they harbor more hatred towards us than his very own Vice President. But I see through this display of smoke and mirrors and know that the greatest threat to my survival and my access to democracy is employees of the Trump administration and citizens of this country who think that I am not deserving of human dignity. Donald Trump is #notmypresident and Mike Pence is certainly #notmyvicepresident because they do not represent me, they will not stick up for me when I need it, they will not protect my rights, and did not even receive the majority of votes.