Today is the 7th anniversary of the debut of SFGN. We were going to do a celebratory cover. But it dawned upon me that there is nothing to celebrate this January.
While the new President of the United States has tried to pass himself off as an ally of the LGBT community, there is absolutely nothing — absolutely nothing — about his cabinet picks to give any queer a reason to cheer.
Don’t like that word queer? Neither do I. Hate it. But here’s the reality. That is what many of the people running our government now think of you.
Here is a summary of some of those cabinet picks and their positions, with full credit to the Advocate.com for publishing a detailed point by point article on the subject last month. The link follows this feature.
Let’s start with the Attorney General of the United States. Last year, as the United States Senator from Alabama, he cast two significant votes on LGBT issues. With the first, he voted against allowing same-sex couples to have access to Social Security. He followed that up by voting against spousal benefits for military veterans who lived as same-sex couples.
Jeff Sessions, the guy whose job is to enforce hate-crime laws voted against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, also voted against repealing ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.” But Sessions is just the first amongst a host of Trump’s choices that demands our community resist the coming days with strong voices in opposition.
The one person who may be the most dangerous is another former lawmaker who has voted against the LGBT community in Congress with enthusiasm. Tom Price, America’s incoming secretary of Health and Human Services, has a voting history of being virulently anti-gay, opposing hate crime laws and co-sponsoring the ‘First Amendment Defense Act. This is a guy who just a year ago referred to progressive transgender policies as “absurd.”
Doctor Ben Carson has been celebrated as a brilliant neurosurgeon. Someone ought to operate on his brain. This is the guy who once associated being gay with bestiality, who has called transgender persons abnormal, and argued that the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality should be ignored.
As HUD Secretary, he could rescind a 2012 rule prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in federally funded housing for low-income people, as one example. He will likely use the power of his office to frustrate claims of discrimination based on gender, sex or lack of inclusiveness.
The new secretary of the Department of Education is also no friend of the gay community. Betsy DeVos is a wealthy woman who has spent a lifetime partnering with Focus on the Family, renowned for promoting conversion therapy programs. She and her family have given a half million dollars to the National Organization for Marriage. Not comforting.
DeVos could remove the protections for LGBT children in schools, including guidelines that have taken a strong stand against anti-gay and anti-trans policies in school districts. You see, she has said public education “is a way of helping advance God’s kingdom.” Scary.
President Trump has also bragged about bringing aboard ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as Secretary of Defense. This is a guy who has steadfastly opposed women serving in the military, claiming they are ‘psychologically unfit,’ never retreating from that position. Of course, he opposed LGBT inclusion in the military as well. He also absolutely opposes any transgender inclusion in the armed forces.
The new CIA director also has an unfortunate legislative history. Because Mike Pompeo was a congressman, we know he voted against allowing same-sex couples getting married. Pompeo even supported the Jeb Bush policy of arguing against gays adopting children. He refused to support the Violence Against Women Act when it was expanded to include domestic violence protections for same-sex couples.
This is a guy who, speaking to Tea Party activists, said that America should assess the ‘medical health impact’ of the ‘homosexual agenda’ before supporting LGBT bills. The Obama administration pioneered LGBT health advocacy programs. We now have an administrator ready to rape them.
Trump’s new national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is OK with gay couples, but he cites his neutrality by pointing to his friendship with Breitbart’s tech editor, the very extreme Milo Yiannopoulos, who is setting back gay rights issues daily. The Trump cabinet, not even getting to Mike Pence is just not pretty.
Michelangelo Signorile is one of the LGBT community’s most well-known and nationally respected writers. Last month, in the Boston Globe, he declared that Trump’s cabinet is a ‘Who’s Who of Homophobia.' So, the Advocate is not standing alone.
Signorile foresaw the unfolding picks being right wing when Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state was named to head Trump’s domestic policy transition team. This is a guy who once publicly compared homosexuality to arson and kleptomania.
Oh, boy. These are guys running our new federal government. If they say these things in the open, what will they be saying behind closed doors?
The best bet for LGBT rights in the Trump administration may come from some of his personal advisers, like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, who years ago, like Peter Thiel, SFGN’s man of the year in 2016, were early supporters of GOProud, a far right wing LGBT group.
The LGBT community’s problem is none of these adviser guys are putting laws, regulations and policies into place. His Cabinet picks will and are, and along with the Vice President, they have shown a penchant for being hostile to the LGBT community.
We can’t forget the Vice President. Mike Pence — who supported conversion therapy in his 2000 run for Congress — has already claimed that reversing protections for trans students will be the incoming administration’s agenda.
This is the guy who signed a bill providing for a ‘religious freedom law’ that could potentially expand discrimination against the LGBT community, and never once supported same-sex marriage, not even after the Supreme Court so ruled it was a right to be protected, not a choice to be debated.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Trump cabinet picks have no sympathy or support for the LGBT community. So, the charge for progressives is clear. It’s time to stand up, be heard, and resist those policies which would set us back. It’s time for us to unify in opposition to those who want to turn back the clock.
Yes, today is SFGN’s seventh anniversary. But a newspaper is read for a reason; to have a conscience and speak for a cause. It is not to promote the latest 2 for 1 special at your favorite bar. It is our duty to let the new administration know we are not going anywhere. We are going to fight for our rights, protecting and preserving what we have won these past 8 years.
Our revolution is not over. It began with millions marching the day after Donald Trump delivered his pathetic inaugural address, one of the worst ever. He can celebrate his win. We will expose his warts and wounds and lies. They pour out anew every day.
You? Me? We are here to stay, and to say that we will not tolerate the diminution of our stature, the demeaning of our person, or the denigration of our soul.
Here is the link to the entire Advocate article: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2016/12/05/no-lgbt-ally-would-appoint-cabinet
TRUMP’S CABINET PICKS HAVE:
- Voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
- Voted against repealing the ban allowing lesbian, gay and bisexual people to serve openly in the military
- Voted against federally funded needle exchange programs
- Voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
- Voted for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
- Voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
- Opposed the Affordable Care Act, which extends vital protections to LGBTQ people in healthcare settings
- Opposed a woman’s right to choose and voted to defund Planned Parenthood
- Called the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued guidance for school districts to ensure transgender students are treated with dignity in public and federally-funded schools “absurd.”
- Voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
- Opposed the Voting Rights Act
- Voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act
- Opposed immigration reform
- Voted for a Constitutional ban on marriage equality
Spoke in opposition of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell
- Cosponsored the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, legislation that could allow Kim Davis-style discrimination against LGBTQ people across the nation