Tomorrow is Election Day, the hypothetical conclusion to literal years of grueling, ugly partisan (and non-partisan) battling toward the White House. While we can cross our fingers and hope that the worst will be behind us tomorrow, the drama of the 2016 election will likely continue after the next presidential superstar has been elected.
If Donald Trump wins, that drama will continue for four more years, both unraveling American politics and the lives of many. That would be bad. While his views on immigrants and women are well known and troubling, some other areas will be blown up by The Apprentice: White House Edition. For example: the environment, which Trump will effectively ruin for the rest of humankind. Also: guns, which will become even more ubiquitous and scary. And: the LGBTQ community, whose rights will be gambled upon and likely restricted.
That last one: did you know about it? You probably have but have you, like, really thought about it? If you are reading this, you probably get it. You probably don’t need any swaying and you probably know that Trump is bad for everyone dot come backslash that person hyphen and that person hyphen and that person too. Like climate change, the LGBTQ issues has been mostly mum for the entire election cycle save for blips where queers were added to a laundry list of minorities. There wasn’t ever a focus on queer rights at the debates because most (straights) assume everything is “done” for us because gay people who want to get married can get married.
There’s obviously a lot more to equality. Remember simpler times, at the beginning of the year, when bathroom politics were all the rage? Efforts toward equality that were in-the-make as such will be upended. Moreover, the rights and visibility of varying genders and sexualities could disappear, setting back years and decades of work. A vote for Trump is enabling an unfortunate series of events that will restrict LGBTQ people you know or are. To not speak up and tell people that is a disservice to yourself.
Beyond the man himself, there is a sleeping giant awaiting to rule the White House: potential Vice President Mike Pence. As we’ve read and maybe ignored again and again, as Tim Kaine failed to address in the VP debate, there is a lot of unsubtle hate for LGBTQ people coming from Trump via Pence.
If you are unaware, let me wake you up with some facts and research about Pence’s record that I did for work a few weeks ago:
• Pence is Evangelical, describing himself as a “Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
• Pence supported a bill that legalized discrimination against LGBT people.
• As a member of Congress, Pence voted against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
• Pence opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying doing so would be “social experimentation.”
• Pence has said that homosexuality would bring about “societal collapse.”
• Pence has rejected the Obama administration directive on transgender bathrooms.
• In 2000, Pence proposed that money from the Ryan White Care Act—which seeks to offer services for Americans with HIV/AIDS—should be directed to “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
• In the early nineties, Pence ran a Conservative think tank that published anti-gay articles.
• According to Pence’s 2001 website, he believes Congress “should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a “discreet and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”
Doesn’t he seem sweet?
No. He is a homophobic monster. All those facts were culled from the below articles, if you want to be grossed out even further.
• Before He Was Trump’s Running Mate, Mike Pence Led The Anti-LGBT Backlash
• Here’s A Recap Of Mike Pence’s Attacks On LGBT Rights Just In Time For Tonight’s VP Debate
• Mike Pence Ran A Conservative Think Tank That Published Anti-Gay Articles
• Here’s What Mike Pence Said On LGBT Issues Over The Years
• Here Is Mike Pence’s Questionable 2000 Proposal On HIV/AIDS Funding
• Mike Pence, Trump’s VP Pick, Is Too Anti-Gay Even For Republicans
Now that he is out of the way, let’s zoom out further because Trump and Pence are being supported by an entire infrastructure that is anti-us.
Remember during the Republican National Convention, when the Republican platform was being devised? It was shockingly, offensively anti-LGBTQ, with goals to take back marriage equality, allow for anti-queer discrimination, discourage queer adoption, and allow conversation therapy for minors. As the first gay Republican platform committee member Rachel Hoff said at the time, “Why am I even here?” Not just because of Trump and Pence but Republican leadership in general is trying to strip queer rights.
It’s all a disgusting masquerade of hate masked as “Christianity” and “conservatism.” It is fine to be Christian and it is fine to be conservative and it’s fine to be both: that’s not the issue. What isn’t right is actively supporting a group at the top who are working to restrict the rights of (queer) Americans, of people who are just trying to live as freely as those with all the privileges (male, white, straight, etc.). It’s adorable for people to want to vote for not-Hillary, to protest Trump, but don’t get carried away or indulge your pride beyond the country’s repair.
On Wednesday, America will officially be wheeling toward a new tomorrow. Is that tomorrow a trash fire built upon kindling made of minority bodies or is that tomorrow more of the Obama same, with a chance of getting better? We will see. For now, for today, it us up to us LGBTQ people to push people we know to protect our rights. This is our last chance because, for many minorities, this changing of the guards will shake our already fragile infrastructure.