Ever since publicly announcing her support for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, Miami Beach drag queen Elaine Lancaster has received countless criticisms from the LGBT community.
Following Trump’s announcement on Twitter that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military things were no different, and the community chastised her and the president for such an announcement.
This time, however, Lancaster didn’t have a response ready to defend Trump’s actions.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lancaster, also known as James Davis told the Miami Herald last week. “I have to process it. I think he should expand freedoms and equality instead of restricting them. If transgender people want to serve in the military, they should be allowed to.”
“I feel for people who are transgender and currently serving who may be asked to vacate their posts,” Lancaster continued. “But I would hope they would be given honorable discharges.”
Earlier this month, Lancaster sat down for an interview with LGBT newsite UnicornBooty to discuss her thoughts on Trump and her experiences with the LGBT community as a Trump supporter. She said she is appalled at how she is treated for her support for Trump, but that at the end of the day she is still a proponent of LGBT rights, and would not stand if the president set into action any policy that negatively affects the LGBT community.
“I don’t agree with everything he says, of course,” Lancaster said. “I am an American citizen. It’s not about me, it’s about the country. It’s about the community.”
Lancaster continued, “If that man does anything anti-LGBT, I will be the first person to go to DC and protest.”
Lancaster’s statement was put to the test when Trump shocked the LGBT on Twitter last Wednesday.
The national Log Cabin Republicans also continuously receives criticisms from the LGBT community for their conservative ideals. During the campaign, however, they refused to endorse Trump as a candidate — although the Miami chapter broke ranks and endorsed him.
“The president’s statement this morning does a disservice to transgender military personnel and reintroduces the same hurtful stereotypes conjured when openly gay men and women were barred from service during the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era,” wrote The Log Cabin Republicans, last Wednesday. “As an organization that led the charge against the hateful policy, Log Cabin Republicans remains equally committed to standing up for transgender military personnel who put their lives on the line to keep us free.”
In 2015, Lancaster received an award at Diversity Honors, an fundraising annual gala hosted by the Harvey Milk Foundation and the Pride Center in Wilton Manors.
Stuart Milk, president of the Harvey Milk Foundation said at the time, “We were looking for people who are constantly giving back to the community or people who are tremendously authentic. James is both categories. He brings forth, with glitz and glamor, authenticity. And he brings forth, with glitz and glamor, giving back to the community. Our shared vision is coming into reality tonight. To once a year set aside an event which provides distinguished recognition of people who have made our entire community stronger, more just, more humane and more enlightened.”
Two years later, the LGBT community sees Lancaster in a much different light.
Along with her backing of Trump, Lancaster frequently portrayed herself as a victim, chastising the LGBT community for shunning her.
“I come from a community that touts that we are so inclusive, we are so embracing of what’s different, all we ask for is tolerance and equality,” Lancaster said. “When I came out as a supporter of Trump, I was blackballed instantly. They got online campaigns. I was thrown off the [White Party] committee. I couldn’t be the emcee anymore. I got death threats. I have lawsuits pending against people. Oh, it’s horrible.”
Lancaster continued, “Now, I’m an enemy of the gay community. I worked 20 years and sacrificed my personal life for the betterment of the gay community. I want a place at a table.”
Many in the LGBT community, especially activists in South Florida and the Miami area do not buy her pleas for inclusivity, instead seeing it as an opportunity for her to grab attention.
“Elaine wants to go and cry and paint herself as a victim when the entire Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) community is suffering, little by little, by this president and his administration,” Dale Wilson, LGBT activist and South Florida DJ told the Miami Herald. “She is not the only gay person who supported Trump. But she has made such an effort to paint herself as the token idiot for the village idiot. Of course, things come back to her because she’s the loudest mouth.”
Wilson continued, “It’s very clear to anyone who God gave the brain of a billy goat to that [Trump] doesn’t give a [redacted] about us. But yet they, the ‘Roaches for Raid,’ will go and march and stand up for this man who won’t be bothered by them. That just irks me.”
The trans military ban is still up in the air, and it has united much of the LGBT community in support of the transgender community. Lancaster has called herself the voice of the LGBT community before, and so far disagrees with Trump’s proposed trans military ban.
“If something goes awry, I have a voice,” Lancaster said. “We aren’t going to stand for that. I want to be a champion of the gay community.”
But many are still skeptical that she can regain her voice and be said champion when she so ardently supports a president who impinges on LGBT rights so easily.
“It is not fair to discriminate against someone,” Wire Magazine publisher Rafa Carvajal said. “But it is fair to choose who you support based on their views. And you cannot have it both ways. You cannot for years claim to be an LGBTQ leader and then openly and vocally support someone who wants to take away the rights of the LGBTQ community.”