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Gays for Trump?

LGBT voters also believe that America needs a game changer

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Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade
Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

Donald Trump (Washington Blade photo by Lee Whitman)

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.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Brian's Ions

    March 3, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    “Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions.”
    — Mr. Lies, Angels in America
    —–
    **
    Like TR and FDR, Trump has turned against his class.**

  2. THEBEARCUB

    March 4, 2016 at 1:45 am

    LMAO!!!!!

  3. MyAss

    March 4, 2016 at 8:52 am

    What are they thinking?
    In short: that YOUR candidate is full of it. And you’re in for a rude awakening.
    The world is about so, so much more than the gay issues. But probably this is news for you…

  4. Peter Wright

    March 4, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    An ideology that mandates throwing gay men from the tallest building in town and in some cases actually does it, with virtually no protests from its adherents worldwide is truly disturbing. Even more disturbing is the deliberate ignoring of this fascist ideology by many of the proponents human rights for GLBT people, calling it the religion of peace and using the term Islamophobia. What the western world needs is a real and serious conversation about what is in their holy books, how seriously do they take it and how this relates to their duties and responsiblities as citizens. This is what Trump is proposing. Indeed if they actually believe that GLBT should be “punished” then as a citizen of a Western country I have every right to question why they should be allowed to reside in our societies.

  5. Keith Cumbie

    March 5, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Definite proof that warped, twisted perverted mentalities are not limited to straights.

  6. A-Jay

    March 7, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Jim Dirscoll:

    Being active in SE Florida politics for over 30 years I have found that fellow New Yorker Donald Trump brings to the 2016 GOP primary race a challenge that has stimulated the grass-roots with ground-breaking interest and participation that’s been lacking for too long a time.

    While I initially favored Gov. Jeb. Bush I am now more inclined to support a possible Trump-Kasich ticket thereby enabling a rejuvenated Republican surge that will return the Oval Office to more of a centrist mode of leadership thereby affording greater stability for the United States both nationally and internationally in these critical times.

    Trump’s business expertise and negotiating skills hinged to Kasich’s political acumen and record of achievements offers us a more suitable-common-sense approach to “making America great again.” This political marriage of more of a middle-of-the-road approach to achieving fiscal stability and a challenging status of inclusion for those who believe that they have been marginalize is needed. You would never reach this conclusion listening to the many media commentaries.

    It’s essential and also crucial that we foster suitable job growth by ending today’s unsatisfactory trend in unemployment and especially underemployment. When Republicans skillfully alleviate the growing debt crisis by enabling more small business growth and solving the horrible overall effect that our mounting and unsustainable debt, a burden which is divesting our nation’s economy and well being, that will be a positive move in the direction of restoring political faith in those we elect. We must demonstrate that the people most in need are not being ignored by political insiders and drained by Beltway greed. The powers to be must effectively and efficiently cure and end the expanding terrorism of ISIL radicals. Lastly we must hold the unaccountable accountable and since Trump is beholding to no one but himself and the people he has promised to honorable serve then faith in the Beltway may be finally reignited..

    • Mark Cichewicz

      March 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      To what point is there lending your support to anyone who deplors you. The republican party offers you a black hole. Open your eyes wide, see the reality.

  7. Jay Phelps

    March 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    The Donald has made it clear he does not respect us as humans or citizens. He’s campaigning on appointing anti-gay judges to the Supreme court to kill marriage equality. Any gay with any self respect can NOT support this hater.

  8. Myth: Heterosex-Supremacy

    March 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Stockholm Syndrome much Marys???

    “Regardless of their godstyle-choice, heterosex-supremacist politicians that choose to pervert the sanctity of our legal marriage into their political football choose to not earn our votes.” – Rev. Timmy

    Welcome VIDEO: https://youtu.be/0GJN5JcjhOQ

    Recovering from the Lethal Myth of Heterosex-Supremacy BLOG:

    http://recoveryfromheterosexsupremacymyth.blogspot.com/2016/02/welcome-to-heterosex-supremacy_8.html

    Wow, over 6 million views! Thank you YouTube for including Earl & Rev.Timmy hoofing down 5thAvenue NYC for our freedom to marry! (at minutes 1:27).

    VIDEO: https://youtu.be/WSiehK2asbI

    Rev. Timmy on Facebook: http://facebook.com/RevTimmyAwestruckian

  9. Mark Cichewicz

    March 9, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Very well put. Thank you.

  10. BlackNRight

    April 3, 2016 at 10:16 am

    You talk about the backlash of the AIDS epidemic. But can you really blame people? It started in the gay community, it remains even today highest in the gay community. Then you have a subculture of gift givers and bug chasers that seek out the disease. The initial reaction was not to address it like any other pandemic and shut down bathhouses and other such facilities that would’ve saved lives but instead fight that protocol as some kind of oppression and as such that reaction would eventually lead to the death of millions. I don’t think the reaction people experienced during the AIDS crisis was backlash, I think it was simply common sense.

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Opinions

Trend of banning books threatens our freedom

‘History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas’

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National Book Festival, gay news, Washington Blade

I knew Helen Keller was a DeafBlind activist. But, until recently, I didn’t know that some of her books were torched.

Nearly 90 years ago, in 1933 Germany, the Nazis added “How I Became a Socialist,” by Keller to a list of “degenerate” books. Keller’s book, along with works by authors from H.G. Wells to Einstein were burned. 

The Nazi book burnings were horrific, you might think, but what does this have to do with the queer community now?

I speak of this because a nano-sec of the news tells us that book censorship, if not from literal fires, but from the removal from school libraries, is alive and well. Nationwide, in small towns and suburbs, school boards, reacting to pressure from parents and politicians, are removing books from school libraries. Many of these books are by queer authors and feature LGBTQ+ characters.

Until recently, I didn’t worry that much about books being banned. My ears have pricked up, every year, in September when Banned Books Week is observed. Growing up, my parents instilled in me their belief that reading was one of life’s great pleasures as well as a chance to learn about new ideas – especially, those we disagreed with. The freedom to read what we choose is vital to democracy, my folks taught me. 

“I don’t care if it’s ‘Mein Kampf,’” my Dad who was Jewish told me, “I’ll defend to my death against its being banned.”

“Teachers should be allowed to teach it,” he added, “so kids can learn what a monster Hitler was.”

In this country, there have always been people who wanted to ban books from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by writer and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe to gay poet Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”

In the 1920s, in the Scopes trial, a Tennessee science teacher was fined $100 for teaching evolution. (The law against teaching evolution in Tennessee was later repealed.)

But, these folks, generally, seemed to be on “the fringe” of society. We didn’t expect that book banning would be endorsed by mainstream politicians.

Until lately.

Take just one example of the uptake in book-banning: In September, the Blade reported, Fairfax County, Virginia public school officials said at a school board meeting that two books had been removed from school libraries to “reassess their suitability for high school students.”

Both books – “Lawn Boy” a novel by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by non-binary author Maia Koabe feature queer characters and themes, along with graphic descriptions of sex.

Opponents of the books say the books contain descriptions of pedophilia. But, many book reviewers and LGBTQ students as well as the American Library Association dispute this false claim.

The American Library Association honored both books with its Alex Award, the Associated Press reported. The award recognizes the year’s “10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”

Given how things have changed for us queers in recent years – from marriage equality to Pete Buttigieg running for president – it’s not surprising that there’s been a backlash. As part of the blowback, books by queer authors with LGBTQ+ characters have become a flashpoint in the culture wars.

As a writer, it’s easy for me to joke that book banning is fabulous for writers. Nothing improves sales more than censorship.

Yet, there’s nothing funny about this for queer youth. My friend Penny has a queer son. “LGBTQ kids need to read about people like themselves,” she told me. “It’s horrible if queer kids can’t find these books. They could become depressed or even suicidal.”

If we allow books to be banned, our freedom to think and learn will be erased.

“History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas,” Keller wrote in a letter to students in Nazi Germany.

Anti-queer officials may remove LGBTQ books from school libraries. But, our thoughts will not be unshelved.

Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

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Opinions

Thanksgiving is a time to share

Take a moment to think about what you can do to help others

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This Thanksgiving, many of us will once again celebrate with family and friends around the dinner table. Sadly at too many tables friends and family members will be missing. They will be one of the over 766,000 Americans who lost their lives to coronavirus. May the shared grief over lost loved ones cause us to try to bridge our differences and lift each other. As those of us with plenty sit down for dinner let us not forget the many in the world not so fortunate and think of what we can do to make their lives better.

In the midst of the pandemic we defeated a president who through his words and actions tore our country apart — a president who managed to poison relationships among family and friends. We elected a president who we felt would try to unite the nation. But we know that has yet to happen and the recent reaction to the not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial shows us that. The use of race-baiting in the recent Virginia governor’s election shows us that. We still suffer from the implicit permission the former president gave to some Americans to once again give public voice to their sexism, homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. That didn’t suddenly end with his loss. While we cannot pretend those feelings weren’t always there it seemed we had reached a point in American society where people understood you couldn’t voice them in public without rebuke. While it will take many years to put that genie back in the bottle we need to try if we are to move forward again. Around our Thanksgiving table is a place to begin. I am an optimist and believe we can do that even while recognizing it won’t be easy.

Thanksgiving should be a time to look within ourselves and determine who we are as individuals and what we can do to make life better for ourselves, our families, and others here in the United States and around the world.

Around our Thanksgiving table we should take a moment to think about what we can do to help feed the hungry, house the homeless, and give equal opportunity to everyone who wants to work hard. Maybe even give some thought as to how we change policies causing institutional racism to ones giving everyone a chance to succeed. It is a moment to think about how we can open up the eyes of the world to understand how racism, homophobia, and sexism hurt everyone, not just those who are discriminated against.

We must renew our efforts to heal the rifts in our own families and make an effort to try to see each other in a more positive light. If we start to do that with those closest to us we might have a fighting chance to do it with others.

I recognize my life is privileged having just returned from a 14-day transatlantic cruise. My Thanksgiving weekend will be spent with friends in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and we will remember our experiences over the past year. For many it also begins the Christmas season and the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend each year Rehoboth Beach lights its community Christmas tree. So surely we will talk about what that season means to each of us.

For me each year it means thinking about which charities I can support as the requests for end-of-year gifts arrive. It is a time to think about volunteering some precious time for a cause you care about.
Wherever you live, there are many chances to volunteer and do your part to make a difference for others. The rewards of doing so will come back to you in abundance. As anyone who has helped someone else will tell you the feeling you get for having done so is wonderful.

So wishing all my friends and those of you who I may be lucky enough to call friends in the future, a very happy Thanksgiving. May this holiday find you happy, healthy and sharing peaceful times with those you love.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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Fighting for equality for decades, trans elders still face endless hardships

Lisa Oakley rejected by 60 long-term care facilities in Colo.

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transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

November 20 will mark the 22nd International Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international event honoring and commemorating the many transgender people murdered in transphobic hate crimes every year.

Since 2013, at least 200 transgender people have been murdered in the United States alone, 80 percent being Black and Latinx women. This number is undoubtedly an underestimate, as many murders go unreported and trans victims often are misgendered by law enforcement.

These murders are not isolated crime statistics. They grow out of a culture of violence against transgender and non-binary (TGNB) people that encompasses stigma, exclusion, discrimination, poverty, and lack of access to essential resources, including health care, employment and housing. 

These challenges result in early death. In Latin America, for example, it has been reported that the average life expectancy of a transgender person is only 35 years.

This climate of stigma and transphobia is particularly challenging for TGNB older people, who face extraordinary hardships due both to the cumulative impact of lifetimes of discrimination and regular mistreatment in their elder years. Due to isolation from family and greater medical and financial needs, trans older people are more likely to require professionalized elder services and care. 

Unfortunately, these services and the facilities that provide them are often either unavailable to TGNB elders, or hostile to them. A national survey of LGBTQ+ older people by AARP found that more than 60 percent of those surveyed were concerned about how they would be treated in a long-term care setting. This includes the fear of being refused or receiving limited care, in danger of neglect or abuse, facing verbal or physical harassment, or being forced to hide or deny their identity once again. 

This is a sobering reality. In October, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders filed a claim against Sunrise Assisted Living in Maine, which openly denied admission to an older transgender woman because of her gender identity. 

In Colorado, Lisa Oakley was, astonishingly, rejected by 60 long-term care facilities, which her caseworker ascribes to Lisa’s gender identity. One facility that agreed to admit Lisa would only house her with a male roommate. 

After waiting far too long for welcoming care, Lisa eventually got help from SAGE and other community supporters and found a home in Eagle Ridge of Grand Valley. Fortunately, Eagle Ridge has participated in specialized training to be LGBTQ+-welcoming. While Lisa feels welcomed at Eagle Ridge and has made friends, she has been forced to live far from a community she loves. 

These cases in Maine and Colorado are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the discrimination faced by TGNB elders. That’s why it’s so important that Congress pass the Equality Act, which would once and for all prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in key areas like employment, housing, and care and services.

And while legal progress is important, it’s not enough. TGNB elders need more equity in their day to day lives. Older transgender people are more likely to experience financial barriers than non-transgender elders, regardless of age, income and education.

They’re also at a higher risk of disability, general poor mental and physical health, and loneliness, compared to their cisgender counterparts.

These experiences have been part of everyday life for trans elders for far too long. We continue to see them struggle with the long-term effects of transphobia and violence every day. That’s why organizations like SAGE are stepping up our support for TGNB elders by investing $1 million to support TGNB-focused services and advocacy both in New York and nationwide.

And we are continually amazed by the resilience of TGNB elders, creating communities built on their strength and courage. 

Their resilience is nothing new. It dates back generations and was evident during the Stonewall Uprising. Over the years, trans luminaries like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Victoria Cruz—leaders of the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement—and countless others have repeatedly proved that they will not be invisible.  

We see this determination in so many programs and activities led by trans elders at SAGE. 

For example, the TransGenerational Theater Project brings together transgender people of all ages to create theater from their experiences and perspectives. These types of elder-driven programs serve as powerful reminders that transgender older people are leading their lives with resilience, creativity, and perseverance, despite the dangers they face. 

Transgender and non-binary elders have survived and fought for equality for decades. They are brave. They are strong. They are leaders. Here at SAGE, we will continue to walk side-by-side with them as we continue the fight to ensure TGNB elders get the respect, change, and acceptance they deserve.

Michael Adams is the CEO of SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ elders.

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