When the Supreme Court approved marriage equality in 2015, many believed that homophobia was on its way out.

Though hatred against LGBT people continued to exist, many thought that, like racism, it was a feeling that bigots would keep to themselves. All this changed with the rise of Donald Trump and his MAGA movement. Trump gave his followers permission to hate, not only against the queer community but also against Blacks, Indigenous peoples, Muslims, immigrants, or anyone else they do not like. Under Trump, America became a hateful nation, and we still pay the price.

The Texas Republican Party has long been a bellwether of the American right movement. Though the Texas GOP has always been homophobic and transphobic, this year it carried its bigotry to new levels. At a recent convention, Lone Star Republicans approved a platform that called homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice."

"We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. No one should be granted special legal status based on their LGBTQ+ identification.”

The convention also endorsed conversion therapy and opposed “all efforts to validate transgender identity.”

Texas Republicans are very far out, even by GOP standards, and nothing that they decide at their conventions will surprise me. But publicly expressed, anti-queer feeling has now spread across the right’s political firmament. Sometimes public homophobia is expressed by repressive laws, as is the case with Florida’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Sometimes it is expressed by comments on social media, as in Twitter messages posed by QAnon nut cases Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Trans people, especially youth, are favorite targets of the MAGA haters who seek to restrict their access to affirming health care or their right to use bathrooms or participate in sports. Some go as far as former Mississippi Rep. Robert Foster, who argued that those “advocating to put men pretending to be women in locker rooms and bathrooms with young women should receive the death penalty by firing squad.”

But all of us are in the bull’s-eye. The new haters exploit parents’ longstanding fear for their children’s safety when they accuse all LGBT people (and our allies) of being “groomers” who, if not pedophiles ourselves, support the rights of pedophiles. Like wokeness, grooming is something that most people know little about, though they instinctively fear it. Politicians, who should know better, use this to their advantage. Though the quest to protect “innocent” children from homosexuals is nothing new — it was the goal of Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” crusade in 1977 — I did not expect it to still be as powerful in 2022.

I do not think Americans hate LGBT people more today than they did a decade ago. Like racism, homophobia and transphobia have always been with us. However, under the current political climate, some Americans feel more justified or encouraged to express their bigotry and act upon it. Even worse, these haters now have more power and influence to enact their hatred than ever before. This is something that we should keep in mind, as the midterm elections approach.

Coronavirus Journal X 

I have not written much about COVID-19 lately, partly because I ran out of things to write about it. But life has since taught me otherwise. Though I have been vaccinated (four times) I recently tested positive for the virus. But I am largely asymptomatic, and I expect to get over this illness soon (thanks to the vaccines). So let this be a lesson to us all. Though the current plethora of diseases is getting weary, we must be prepared. So, please, get your shots, not only against COVID-19 but also against meningitis and monkey pox. They might save your life.