On what may be the slowest news day San Francisco has ever experienced, local station KRON aired a 10-minute profile on a gay man who likes to wear a Donald Trump hat. Max Guglielmelli, the subject of the piece, has made a habit of wearing his red "Make America Great Again" hat around the Castro district, where he says some people have hurt his feelings.
"I get a lot of dirty looks," he says in the segment, which accompanies a separate documentary entitled MAGA HAT(E). "When I'm getting coffee or whatever, people behind the counter make no eye contact. They don't want to see my face."
A former soldier who served under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Guglielmelli bounced from one scene to another for several years. He identified as a liberal during his time in the U.S. Army, and after leaving, he engaged in what he calls "gender-bending, wearing makeup, and skirts," joining the Radical Faeries.
"I really wanted to express myself," he says. "Be more unique."
But that apparently wasn't unique enough and so after not bothering to vote in 2016, Guglielmelli now identifies as a Republican. "I started to question everything," he recalls. "The more educated I became, the more conservative I became in 2017."
Ultimately, Guglielmelli told KRON it all comes down to money: "Taxes, hello! Tax, tax, tax!"
In addition to cutting taxes, issues now important to Guglielmelli include giving favorable treatment to business owners, lowering unemployment, and supporting veterans. But LGBTQ+ members of the military are not faring well under the current administration, which is attempting to block transgender people from serving openly and has pushed a "Deploy or Get Out" policy resulting in the discharge of people with HIV.
"This President likes you," he maintains. "He's not going to take rights away from you. [...] He's OK with gay marriage. He's OK with gay people."
Just in the last few weeks, the Trump administration has voiced its support for schools that want to ban LGBTQ+ content, told a town in Iowa to remove its rainbow crosswalks, stopped tracking anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, and submitted briefs to the Supreme Court opposing job protections for queer people.
But cognitive dissonance is a feature in Guglielmelli's politics, not a bug.
Apparently confused partisanship runs in the family, however: Guglielmelli is currently dating a Castro resident who wears a U.S. Border Patrol hat. "It takes a lot of guts to do that," he says of his boyfriend's fashion choice.
Actually, it takes guts to be an LGBTQ+ immigrant: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's policies under Trump have resulted in dozens of transgender migrants being sent to unsafe countries where they face violence while their asylum claims are processed. Asylum seeker Camila Diaz Cordova was murdered in 2019 after being sent back to El Salvador.