Dems, media skewing Trump’s record on LGBT issues?
Months after businessman Peter Thiel made history as the first openly gay speaker to address his sexuality from a Republican convention podium, and mere hours after it emerged President-elect Donald Trump was considering an openly gay man for U.N. ambassador, the leader of a prominent gay conservatives group was still fielding calls from worried members of the LGBT community.
“Please tell me we don’t have anything to fear,” callers continually asked Log Cabin Republicans leader Gregory Angelo.
Given the media coverage that’s greeted Trump’s victory a week ago, it’s not too difficult to see where the worries originate: The New York Times wrote about the billionaire’s election as “a devastating loss” for the gay community; Mother Jonesran a piece on rising calls to LGBT suicide prevention hotlines; Senate Minority Leader Democrat Harry Reid issued a statement Friday citing accounts of “gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands.”
But gay conservative leaders like Angelo suggest that level of alarm doesn’t seem to square with the rhetoric and actions emanating from Trump and his campaign.
Trump said in April that transgender individuals should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” and he counts transgender celeb Caitlyn Jenner as a supporter. In a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday, Trump declared the issue of marriage equality to be “settled.”
“These do not sound like the words of someone who the LGBTQ community should be fearful of,” Angelo told FoxNews.com. “I don’t believe we’ve ever had a president who has so explicitly made overtures to the LGBTQ community. That’s unprecedented.”
Critics – and even those willing to give Trump a chance, like Angelo – do have lingering gripes with Trump and his party, however, on gay rights issues.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who’s expected to wield a great deal of power and currently is leading the transition team, has long been a target of LGBT activists. As Indiana governor, Pence signed a religious freedom law that was strongly opposed by the LGBT community, and it was only after significant criticism that Pence signed an amendment to protect gays and lesbians. Pence has previously supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, opposed an employment non-discrimination act, opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and has stood against allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they associate with.
The official platform of Trump’s party, too, is opposed to same-sex marriage and transgender bathroom laws.