The Trump Administration is about to deal another blow to our global queer community, but this one we can stop. Today, the Senate began the nomination process for Mike Pompeo, a candidate for Secretary of State with a long history of anti-LGBTQ beliefs. Queer people must make it clear to their Senators that a vote for the nomination of Pompeo is a vote against our queer family.
Queer people around the world are facing increased persecution from their governments, as documented in Amnesty International’s annual report. From Chechnya’s imprisonment and torture of queer Chechens to Egypt’s sweeping crackdown, governments are feeling emboldened to harm our global queer community.
This worrisome trend of brazen anti-LGBTQ action by governments around the world is taking place in an environment devoid of global leadership on these issues. Trump’s State Department was silent as these crackdowns emerged, despite pressure from queer activists at home and abroad. This State Department has signaled to the world the United States does not care about LGBTQ rights, and the confirmation of Mike Pompeo would further emphasize this neglect.
Mike Pompeo’s history of anti-LGBTQ beliefs and actions are well documented, consistent, and incredibly alarming. As an ultraconservative member of the House of Representatives, he called the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality “a shocking abuse of power” that “flies in the face of shared understanding of our Constitution.” He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and believes that it is “not ideal” for a child to be raised by same-sex parents.
Photography by Aaron James Hooper
Most shocking is his uncomfortably close ties to the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as anti-LGBTQ hate group. The FRC has done irreparable damage to our community by advocating for conversion therapy and campaigning against equal protection laws. Internationally, they have supported and lobbied for some of the most unnerving anti-LGBTQ action by foreign governments, including Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. Pompeo has supported this hate group throughout his career by appearing on its president’s radio program and by consulting the FRC in his role as CIA director last year. the FRC has released a statement saying Mike Pompeo would be an “agent of change” at the State Department.
Pompeo’s history of LGBTQ bigotry has no place in the State Department.Our community should do everything we can to stop his nomination to protect our global queer family. We must mount a campaign against this nominee, reframe the conversation, and put LGBTQ rights back on the United States’ foreign policy agenda.
Luckily, Pompeo’s confirmation is not guaranteed. Though his nomination is expected to clear the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo will need a full Senate confirmation hearing. The queer community must use every day we have to mobilize against him in full force before this hearing because when you mess with one queer, you mess with all of us. It’s time the State Department knows the queer community is watching.
He has already lost the support of one Republican Senator; if all Democratic Senators oppose him we would need only need one more vote to block him.
Here’s how you can help right now. Call your Senator, Republican or Democrat, and tell them to oppose Pompeo because of his anti-LGBTQ past. If your Senator is already opposed tell them to include LGBTQ rights as a reason for their opposition. You can cite the examples of Pompeo's anti-LGBTQ record from this article to support your opposition.
Call 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Senator and follow Voices4 for the latest action you can take to stop Pompeo.
Wyatt Harms lives in New York City and is an activist with Voices4, a non-violent, direct action group fighting for global queer liberation.