A small yet growing number of LGBTQ iconoclasts support Donald Trump. What are they thinking? After a big victory on gay marriage, why do independent minded gays remain dissatisfied or outright angry about our lot?
Although we have come far, we still have far to go to gain equal rights, let alone equal respect. With ENDA stalled, employment discrimination lives on. Gay youth still face terrible self esteem barriers. Where are the American gay heroes for them to look up to and serve as role models?
Gay people are just as heroic as the rest of humanity. But public recognition remains half hearted, begrudging or coldly absent.
During the AIDS epidemic gay men and women challenged and beat the FDA drug delayers, we jump started research at NIH, lit a fire under CDC, and changed healthcare and the rights of patients to the great benefit of other Americans, indeed all humanity.
AIDS activism wasn’t just some mindless crowd phenomenon. We had our leaders, thinkers, our self-sacrificing heroes, many of them dead before their time. But who celebrates any of ours? Where is the national recognition for gay heroes whose courage and insight made healthcare better for everyone? Nowhere. The establishment, liberal and otherwise, expects gays to stay content with patronizing toleration since that’s more than Alan Turing and countless past LGBTQ heroes and victims ever got.
Liberals boycotted South Africa and forced companies like Ford and IBM to scale back profitable complicity with apartheid. Saudi Arabia, Iran and many others prescribe beheading for the “crime” of being gay, while they degrade and oppress all their women. Where are the campus protests against these countries or the U.S. corporate enablers that arm and sustain them? Where do Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google stand on gay or women’s rights in such markets?
The Catholic Church has settled thousands of molestation lawsuits. Yet thousands more LGBTQ people have had their careers and lives ruined by homophobic faculty members who are protected by cover-ups at our colleges and universities. Why are not all LGBTs entitled to the truth about our lives? Why do both parties and the media refuse to hold liberal-run universities accountable to the same tough standards applied to the church?
Gay Americans are angry for a thousand different reasons. In their anger more are embracing Trump. I have deep concerns about GOP bias. However, we have a two-party system; being a pragmatic conservative, I work with Republicans. Gays, I believe, would fare better with Trump than with his chief GOP rivals, though we’d do best with a Trump/Kasich ticket.
Without a viable presence in both parties, gay people forfeit crucial leverage. Instead of the Democrats competing for our support, we are left with scraps they toss our way. Gays who are starving on table scraps will look to the Donald’s Big Tent. Ever competitive, Trump will compete to get some gay votes, forcing the Democrats to raise their ante.
Nearly half of LGBTQ people think more like Republicans than like liberal Democrats on an array of issues unrelated to the red herring of sex: e.g. immigration, trade and jobs, regulation, healthcare, taxes, education and government red tape and intrusion. If only the Republicans would hold true to their professed principles of individual liberty and limited government, half of LGBTQ people might consider voting GOP.
Trump is a maverick, a wild, outrageous “only in America” original. China, UK, Mexico, Iran, Japan, or Saudi Arabia could never have a Trump, just as they could never have a Reagan, a Truman, an FDR, a TR, or a Lincoln — all as much originals as Trump himself. Rejecting the minions and mouthpieces of our grasping elites, like crafty Hillary and mendacious Marco, many Americans, including LGBTQs, seek a captain to steer us out from the treacherous shoals of special interest politics and set the nation’s course by the real needs of all its people.
Like TR and FDR, Trump has turned against his class. He has taken on the most potent oligarchy since the southern slaveholders — the mega billionaires who rule tech, banking, and above all, the media. Led by Rupert Murdock at Fox ($12B), Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook ($40B), and Carlos Slim Helu ($73B), a Mexican national, who holds control of America’s paper of record, the New York Times, 12 mega-billionaires dominate media in the United States. Trump is the only major candidate ever to take on Big Media, Big Banks and Big Pharma.
What is the key factor turning gay men and women to Trump? Along with the gut appeal of Trump’s bold challenge to our corrupt and sclerotic establishment, frustrated LGBTQ people, outcasts and survivors often, believe that American politics needs a real game changer.
James Driscoll, Ph.D., is a former AIDS adviser to Log Cabin Republicans and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS under President George W. Bush. He lives in Nevada.