October 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Voters in battleground Va. weigh in on election
Don Davenport, right, and Chris Unger of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia attend Northern Virginia Pride in Centreville, Va., on Oct. 1, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Don Davenport, right, and Chris Unger of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia attend Northern Virginia Pride in Centreville, Va., on Oct. 1, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

CENTREVILLE, Va. — Many people who attended Northern Virginia Pride on Saturday said they strongly dislike Donald Trump.

Ybax Jama of Centreville described the Republican presidential candidate as “a child” as she registered people to vote at the Bull Run Special Events Center on behalf of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Jama, who was wearing a Muslim headscarf, told the Washington Blade that Trump is “singling out every other race but his race.”

“He likes himself,” she said. “It’s all about him.”

Ian Lekus, who also lives in Centreville, was more blunt.

“Trump is fundamentally unqualified to be president,” he told the Blade. “He is a danger to this country, a danger to this entire world.”

Amy Cannon, a board member of Equality Prince William, which is a non-partisan organization, described Trump as a “lunatic.” Don Davenport of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia told the Blade that many voters with whom he has spoken are concerned a Trump presidency would have an adverse impact on LGBT rights.

“They don’t like his philosophies,” said Davenport.

David Lampo of Alexandria, who is a former member of the Log Cabin Republicans board of directors, disagreed.

He told the Blade that Trump is “clearly the most pro-gay rights Republican we’ve ever had.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, signed his state’s controversial religious freedom law in 2015 and opposed efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad when he was a member of Congress. The Republican Party’s platform opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples and the use of federal law to guarantee transgender people can use restrooms consistent with their gender identity and supports so-called conversion therapy.

Lampo, who supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the primary, conceded to the Blade that he does not agree with all of Trump’s positions. Lampo nevertheless said he plans to vote for the Republican billionaire in November.

“I totally get why so many Republicans are going to vote for Gary Johnson or Hillary Clinton,” Lampo told the Blade. “In my view I don’t want to sacrifice the country and put her in office because we’ve got a less-than-stellar candidate.”

A poll that Christopher Newport University released on Monday indicates Clinton is ahead of Trump by a 42-35 percent margin in Virginia.

Axiom Strategies Remington Research Group last month identified Loudoun County as one of 10 counties around the country that could determine the outcome of the presidential election in battleground states. A poll the groups conducted between Sept. 6-7 found Clinton was ahead of Trump by a 44-42 percent margin with a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

“We’ve gone from reliably Republican to purple,” Lampo told the Blade, speaking about Northern Virginia.

“Unless there’s some secret or silent vote out there, she is certainly ahead,” he added. “As of now I would say she’s likely to win (Virginia) because of northern Virginia.”

Terry Fischer of Woodbridge, who is an at-large member of the Equality Prince William board of directors, told the Blade she supports Clinton.

Fischer conceded Clinton “certainly has her flaws.” She nevertheless said she would “rather err on the side that’s going to look out for people ultimately than demonize them.”

“I couldn’t deal with the other,” said Fischer.

Lekus told the Blade he would consider supporting Johnson or Jill Stein if it were another presidential election cycle. He said he plans to vote for Clinton next month.

“In this particular case there’s absolutely no question,” said Lekus. “The choice is so stark between a Democrat with whom we can get a lot accomplished and an extraordinarily unpredictable and unqualified Republican.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

4 Comments
  • “clearly the most pro-gay rights Republican we’ve ever had.”

    A two is better than a one. And most pro-gay rights? I hardly think so as many who signed the letter are actually gay, and were known to be gay while in Congress.

    • Yes, Trump is the most pro-gay Republican presidential candidate we’ve had by far, from speaking out for prohibiting employment discrimination in his book in 2000 to speaking out against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to raising money for AIDS charities. He was attacked repeatedly for his “New York values” by bigots like Ted Cruz, and he spoke out in favor of glbt rights both after the Orlando massacre and in his RNC acceptance speech, a first for any Republican nominee. Even liberal pundits like Van Jones called it an historic speech, and he was loudly applauded by the convention audience for those remarks. Only someone with their head in the sand could deny the progress his candidacy represents, regardless of whether or not one agrees with his other views.

      • How stupid do you imagine other gay people are? OMG you’re repellent.

        Funny, I haven’t heard anything during this entire campaign, including the convention and the platform, that utters a peep about any of those pro-gay positions you claim Trump used to hold when he was a New York Democrat. Why is he not mentioning them? Because the disaster of a platform process makes clear that he doesn’t give a damn about gay issues and is perfectly content letting far-right bigots run amok, just as they did in drafting the platform.

        No, he did not speak in favor of LGBT rights in his acceptance speech. He didn’t mention favoring marriage equality or favoring ENDA or opposing RFRA bills or anything else. All he did in that speech was wave us as exhibits for why he would undertake sweeping discrimination and oppression against Muslims. Bashing Muslims is not a gay right.

        Still waiting for you to defend his vows to repeal our LGBT-protective executive orders and sign the bigoted FADA bill that your party is panting to pass.

        You’re a repellent excuse for a self-loathing huckster, which is all LCR has become anymore.

  • LGBT Republicans who are fooling themselves into supporting Trump are just as morally bankrupt as their homophobic straight Republican counterparts.

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