As we enter the second week of a post-Donald Trump election, many members of minority groups, such as the LGBT community, are pondering how the reality star’s ascension to the White House will affect their everyday lives.
Though he said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he was a friend of the LGBTQ community (despite once holding the Pride flag upside down at an event), Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate has alarmed queer people nationwide. Not only is Pence the architect of the “religious freedom” movement, but he also believes in ex-gay conversion therapy.
Yes, the real estate mogul said this past weekend during a 60 Minutes appearance that he’s “fine” with the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, but that law is one of ten areas we should focus on during a Trump administration.
10. Gay Marriage
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled twice on the matter, but there are still hundreds of opponents out there, especially business owners and locally-elected officials who scoff at the thought of tax-paying LGBT people marrying the people they love. Remember Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis? As she continues to find legal means to rebuild her reputation, I believe more naysayers will surface voicing their disgust for such unions.
9. Religious Freedom Laws
Vice President-elect Mike Pence first drew national attention when his home state considered legislation that would’ve allowed religious individuals to discriminate against LGBT people. Other states like Georgia, New Mexico, and West Virginia flirted with the same idea shortly after. With Pence now leading Trump’s transition team, he may be tapping similarly-minded people who could eventually bring the issue to a national stage.
8. Non-Discrimination Protections
After the Employment Non-Discrimination Act failed to pass each time it came up for a vote in Congress, advocates crafted the Equality Act, which would protect LGBT people in areas like employment, housing, and public accommodations, among other areas. House Speaker Paul Ryan has never made it a priority, and with Trump’s mind on healthcare and immigration, it likely never will be.
7. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
President Obama signed legislation ending the decades-old ban on openly-gay military service in 2010, and just this year, the armed forces finally allowed transgender people to come forward. But depending on who works at the Pentagon and who serves as Trump’s Defense Secretary, this may once again become a hostile environment for queer patriots. Here’s hoping we don’t see a spike in anti-LGBT harassment.
6. Chelsea Manning Imprisonment
No not a law, but still a very big issue. The dishonorably-discharged Army private convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks has twice attempted to take her own life this year while serving at a military prison for her offenses. While the military has agreed to fund her sex reassignment surgery, she has routinely talked about (through her attorney) about the downside to being trans and incarcerated. She has asked President Obama to commute her sentence, but he has given no indication that he would. I doubt Trump would even consider it.
5. Sodomy Laws
Even though the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated sodomy laws in its 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case, there are STILL some states that have the nullified statute on the books. Because of this legal ambiguity, the Advocate reported earlier this year that police in Baton Rouge, La., arrested men for something that has been legal for more than a decade.
4. Hate Crime Laws
One of President Obama’s first acts in 2009 was signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which now brings anti-LGBT abusers to justice. With an unprecedented amount of attacks already reported within the first few days of Donald Trump’s election, including against queer Americans, many are genuinely afraid for their safety, especially since Trump has done little to quiet the chaos launched by those praising him.
3. Reparative Therapy Bans
Six states, including Chris Christie’s New Jersey, currently ban conversion or reparative therapy where ‘medical professionals’ attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation. But Mike Pence firmly believes in the practice, which has led to instances of depression, drug use, homelessness, and even suicide among its victims. He even ran on the issue during his 2000 congressional bid.
2. Anti-Trans Bathroom Laws
North Carolina’s incredibly transphobic measure galvanized the LGBT population to fight back against the law’s supporters, including now-ousted Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. But with more state legislatures skewing conservative, it’s possible the law may be replicated in areas that handily delivered Donald Trump his electoral win.
1. Gay Blood Donor Ban
After several years of telling sexually-active gay and bisexual men that they could never donate blood, the FDA says it’s still reevaluating an amended version of the ban that reduced the wait period to only a year after having sex. There was talk about the ban during the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting when blood donations were heavily needed, but there hasn’t been any movement on the policy front since then.