5 Ways the Trump Presidency Could Affect LGBT Rights

Rainbow flag.
Photo by Benson Kua

America has voted: Republican candidate Donald Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate with no experience in politics and foreign affairs, will become the 45th president of the United States next January. 

Throughout his campaign, Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, have made several worrisome claims regarding their stance on LGBT issues, and their administration may actively work to repeal some of the legislative progress made during the Obama years, such as the Marriage Equality Act and anti-discrimination laws. 

Here, five things that could change for the LGBT community, in the U.S. and abroad.

1. Marriage Equality

Trump made an infamous flip-flop regarding his opinion on gay marriage (so did Hillary Clinton,) choosing to court the gay vote with poorly-conceived, last-minute strategies, mainly consisting in brandishing a rainbow flag at a Colorado rally. Yet, during an interview with Fox News in January 2016, Trump said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges to overturn the Marriage Equality Act. His running mate, Mike Pence, has a history of support for anti-LGBT measures, including a law during his time as Indiana’s governor that would deny services to LGBT people based on religious reasons.

2. Transgender Rights

Similarly to same-sex marriage, Trump changed his mind on transgender rights issues, and voiced his support for the controversial HB2 law in North Carolina, effectively opposing the Obama administration’s lead for transgender students being allowed to use restrooms that match their gender identity.

3. HIV/AIDS and Conversion Therapy

Perhaps one of the most concerning aspects of Trump's presidency is his running mate's overt support of conversion therapy methods. In 2001, Pence wrote on his campaign website that Congress should redirect federal dollars from "organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus" to "those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." 

4. Bullying and Sexual Discrimination

Although Donald Trump has made several U-turns in his opinion of LGBT people, he has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects discrimination on religious grounds and prohibits the government from taking action against anyone who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” Remember Kim Davis? Same. 

His running mate, Pence, publicly opposed the Obama administration's repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “There’s no question to mainstream homosexuality within active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion,” Pence wrote on his website. He added that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a 'discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities." 

5. Immigration

In addition to putting in jeopardy legal unions for bi-national couples, Trump's harsh anti-immigration stance, with unspecified plans to ban all Muslims from entering the country and shut down borders, may prevent at-risk LGBT asylum seekers from finding refuge in the U.S. And for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., Trump's looming presidency heralds an era of fear and uncertainty.

 

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