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A gay defense of Donald Trump

Time for LGBT politicos to practice what they preach



gay Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Political pundits call this the “silly season” because of all the absurd, dishonest and hypocritical statements made by and on behalf of candidates at election time. There is no better example of this than the hysterical screeds against gay Republicans (including Log Cabin Republicans) simply because they support Donald Trump or haven’t gotten on the #NeverTrump train. The premise that LGBT voters should oppose Donald Trump because he’s anti-gay (among many other false reasons) is absurd, and it typifies the political myopia that affects so many in our community who view everything through a gay lens, demanding complete conformity to their politically correct agenda, unless, it sees, you’re a Democrat.

After all, Bill Clinton gave us “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, yet he was enthusiastically supported by LGBT organizations. It was the same with John Kerry, who not only opposed same-sex marriage but also supported two state constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage in Missouri and Massachusetts. Of course, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also opposed marriage when they ran, coming out in support just recently, only after it was politically safe and necessary for them to do so. Yet none of them were labeled bigots or anti-gay because of their positions. It’s only when it’s a Republican who disagrees that the gay knives come out.

The fact is that any honest look at Trump’s record and views on gay rights shows that most of the attacks by gay Democrats on his views are simply incorrect.

Trump, of course, has been a New York Democrat and social liberal for most of his adult life, chummy with many Democratic politicians, including the Clintons, and active in many charities, including support for AIDS charities. He has a long record of public support for expanding gay rights, including adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He stated support for employment nondiscrimination as far back as 2000 in his book, “The America We Deserve,” in which he wrote of his support for a country “free of racism, discrimination against women, or discrimination against people based on sexual orientation.”

He publicly supported repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and in an interview with The Brody File (a very conservative radio show) in 2011, in response to a question about civil unions, he said, “First of all, I live in New York. I know many, many gay people. Tremendous people. And to be honest with you … I haven’t totally formed my opinion. But there can be no discrimination against gays.”

During the Republican primary campaign, he was famously accused by some of his rivals, particularly Ted Cruz, of supporting “New York values,” code words for gay rights, but he never backed away from his support, stating in February that the country would continue to see “forward motion” on gay rights under his presidency, hardly the stuff of anti-gay bigotry.

After the horrific terrorist attack on the gay nightclub in Orlando by radical Islamist Omar Mateen, Trump gave an impassioned speech denouncing it, specifically citing the long history of homophobia in the Islamic world, where gays are imprisoned or killed in many Muslim nations. While many other Republicans were afraid to explicitly make the connection between radical Islam and homophobia, Trump was not, and yet for that he was attacked by the likes of HRC’s Chad Griffin, a sycophant for Hillary Clinton.

Trump and his surrogates repeatedly raised the issue of gay rights during the Republican convention, and Trump himself chose the well-known gay entrepreneur Peter Thiel to give the keynote address, in which he publicly announced his sexual orientation to the cheers and applause of many in the audience. Yet instead of celebrating its symbolic importance, the gay media and establishment ignored or dismissed it in their continuing role as shills for the Democratic Party.

Put perhaps the most dramatic expression of Trump’s fundamental support for gay rights was his heartfelt acknowledgement of the “GLBTQ community” in his acceptance speech at the convention, a truly historic step, one that would have been applauded by the Blade and gay politicos if it had been uttered by a Democrat.

It is certainly fair to criticize Trump for telling social conservatives that he would consider appointing justices to the Supreme Court who oppose the Obergefell decision, yet it would be extremely unlikely that even if Trump truly wanted to reverse it that he could do so.

There’s no doubt one can find much to criticize in Trump (and, for that matter, Hillary Clinton), but to label him anti-gay or a mouthpiece of the religious right is so off-base and incorrect it calls into question the credibility and honesty of those making such accusations.  According to a recent poll of gay voters by NBC News, 36 percent of registered LGBT voters support a candidate other than Clinton, with 28 percent supporting either Trump or Gary Johnson, the Libertarian. It’s time for gay Democrats to stop reviling anyone who doesn’t agree with their political perspectives and try instead to exhibit the same tolerance they demand of everyone else.

David Lampo is the author of ‘A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights’ and served on the boards of Equality Virginia and Log Cabin Republicans.

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  1. Shane L. Groff

    October 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    It’s not that Trump is specifically anti-gay, but simply that he has no concern for anyone but himself. His position on anything is going to be to go towards what he thinks will win him adulation and support. Since he is running as a Republican, it is likely that he will, given no incentive to do otherwise, support the Republican viewpoint that homosexuality is a sin, and should not be encouraged or supported. If you think Donald Trump is a champion of anything but himself, you are likely to be disappointed.

    • CyrWhite

      January 22, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Seriously? You post this stuff? Republicans view it as a SIN? Wow. Educate yourself. You do realize there are evangelical, pro-life Democrats throughout this country, right? If you open your mind and heart, you will find there are more Republicans than not who are strictly fiscal conservatives, and are highly annoyed by the “social conservatives” who talk stupidity as much as the ultra left radicals hurt the message of the Democrat party.

  2. J. Scott Coatsworth

    October 14, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Are you fricking kidding me? What is this, Breitbart’s new gay news outlet?

  3. Aram Vartian

    October 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    The second Trump picked Mike Pence for his running mate we learned everything we needed to know about how Trump views the LGBT community.

    And of course, like many white gay men, you are conveniently ignoring his blatant racism and mysogony. Go sell this bullshit elsewhere, Aunti Tom.

    • mmunson

      October 15, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      I switched to Gary Johnson immediately after Mike Pence was chosen as Trump’s VP choice.

      • lnm3921

        October 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm

        Why bother to vote at all? Johnson can never win. You only help Trump by not voting for Hillary. It’s not about voting for her. It’s about keeping him out of office!

        • CyrWhite

          January 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

          I too voted for Johnson, because I live in a blue state, knew my vote didn’t count, and sought to get him to the 5% needed to invite a 3rd party to the table in 2020. I did that not because of Pence, but because Trump didn’t seem to have a filter, and Hillary was deceptive and probably criminal, getting a pass. It’s a conscience vote, and we’re all entitled to it. I expected Hillary would get elected, but that just meant more war, more debt, and another generation of poverty produced by sh** inner city schools controlled by teacher unions.

    • GodLeros

      November 9, 2016 at 1:29 am

      Now this is a good point.
      Trump is Certainly not anti gay, black, etc….
      But Pence is a dirt bag.
      It’s quite odd.
      Maybe to win…you have to add some dirt.

  4. bilahn

    October 14, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Doesn’t this author understand that Trump;s past “views” mean nothing? He has sold out to the Christian Right for his own power. He would be a raving liberal if he thought it would win him the election.

    Talk about naive. And gay issues are only a tiny part of it. Who knows what Trump’s positions are about anything? What we do know (e.g. foreign policy) is terrifying. Then there is the issue of character and temperament.

    Trump is nothing but a cult of personality, and his rallies are sounding like 1930s Germany. I think we know know how societies can crumble due to a charismatic evil person.
    No one who picks Mike Pence as a running mate is every going to be our “friend” What makes you sure the marriage law can’t be overturned? Don’t you think they will try?

    Mr. Lampo – you need to wake up.

    • ArtistLike

      October 16, 2016 at 10:52 am

      The author is doing the Cato Institute’s propaganda work. Whatever he realizes or doesn’t realize, he is doing the job he is paid (undoubtedly very well) to do. If the Blade wants to publish dissenting opinions arguing why we should put our country and possibly the world at risk by placing a madman in the White House, I would have a lot more respect for the newspaper if it published a strong independent opinion and not one formulated by propaganda wizards at a Koch-funded think thank.

      • Brian's Ions

        October 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        I get it, AL. I sometimes wish I could rule the world too…with only *MY* opinions. However, that’s not the appropriate function of great news and opinion publications.

        But do you understand this is an *OPINION PIECE*?

        How about giving Blade readers credit for their ability to sort facts from opinions? And to consider your ‘drill-down’ commentary, as well?

        Moreover, whether you are ‘for’ or ‘against’ any given issue, knowing how your opponents think about their positions– well, doesn’t that strengthen your ability to refute them?

        IMHO, the Blade is doing its readers a service in providing a robust opinion section –plus– an easy-to-use commentary section for nearly every article, whether news or opinion.
        \ I would have a lot more respect for the newspaper if it published a strong independent opinion and not one formulated by propaganda wizards at a Koch-funded think thank.//

        ** OPINION PIECE**

        \An opinion piece is an article, published in a newspaper or magazine, that mainly reflects the author’s opinion about the subject. Opinion pieces are featured in many periodicals.

        Opinion pieces may take the form of an editorial, usually written by the senior editorial staff or publisher of the publication, in which case the opinion piece is usually unsigned and may be supposed to reflect the opinion of the periodical. In major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe, editorials are classified under the heading “opinion”.//

        • cowboyinbrla

          October 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

          Everyone has opinions. Not everyone’s opinions deserve sharing, and not every person can articulate a case for why an opinion should be considered.

          The only point I can take from this “opinion” piece is that Trump isn’t as bad on gay issues as some on the left would paint him. That’s not an affirmative case for why anyone, much less an LGBT person, should vote for him.

          I’d be happy if the Blade could find a rational person to articulate the case for Trump. The fact that they apparently couldn’t should tell you a lot about the candidate.

        • ArtistLike

          October 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm

          Thanks for the schooling, but “opinion piece,” even as described by Wikipedia at the page you linked, refers to newspaper editorials, columns, and op-eds. This article is an op-ed that states the opinion of its contributor, not necessarily of the newspaper, whereas as you observe an editorial is typically authored by a newspaper editorial board or senior editorial staff. Both would qualify as “opinion pieces.”

          Semantics aside, for the sake of transparency, the newspaper should disclose when op-eds, other opinion pieces, advertorials and sponsored content represent the views of a third-party organization–which this certainly does. Its author is a top communications staff member from the Cato Institute, which is a conservative think tank funded by Charles Koch. This is not disclosed in the body of the op-ed, nor is it disclosed in the author’s bio.

          There is nothing wrong with publishing an opinion that readers may find unpopular or distasteful; however, there is something wrong with publishing a story that purports to represent the viewpoint of a single private individual when that individual is financed by an undisclosed organization that has specific political motivations. Doing this can mislead readers; it is no different than if the vice president for communications at Pepsi were to publish an opinion piece denouncing Coca-Cola and only mention the author’s volunteer positions and not that she makes a living from Coca-Cola’s primary competitor.

  5. Chuck Anziulewicz

    October 15, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Donald Trump is not “anti-Gay.” But I still couldn’t vote for him. I worry about the damage he could potentially do to the Supreme Court. Beyond that, he is simply everything I find utterly repugnant in a human being.

  6. Rick L.

    October 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    It is the people that Trump surrounds himself with which makes makes him an unacceptable choice for President. The people who would make policy in a Trump administration are a rogues gallery of anti-gay sentiment.

    • Lesberatti

      November 18, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Oh I thought that it was his xenophobic, sexist and racist demeanor that made him unacceptable.

  7. NJB

    October 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Donald Trump makes people feel comfortable with their prejudices. Don’t think for a minute that you’re immune from what his followers are emboldened to do against our community.

    • CyrWhite

      January 22, 2017 at 10:42 am

      You have no basis for making that claim. Trump is not anti-gay.

  8. Lesberatti

    October 15, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I couldn’t continue reading this when I saw Bill Clinton’s name.

    Bill Clinton isn’t running for president and it’s clear that Trump’s P*ssy grabbing antics seem to be overshadowing Hllary’s own odious actions.

    Frankly I am resenting having to vote for Hillary just to keep Trump out of the WH.

    • ArtistLike

      October 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      “Frankly I am resenting having to vote for Hillary just to keep Trump out of the WH.”

      Now *that* is a legitimate position with sound supporting arguments that this newspaper should consider discussing–not preposterous insinuations that a Trump-Pence administration would be good for LGBT people (Pence supports conversion therapy, for God’s sake!), but how we should choose wisely between two corrupt candidates and what the outcomes of our decisions may be for LGBT Americans.

      • Lesberatti

        October 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        Thank you for your insightful response. You’ve put more thought into it than I diod in my inititial response, which was nothing more than a reaction.

      • MrPurple

        October 20, 2016 at 1:31 am

        If you believe that claim about Pence, you’ll believe anything.

        • GodLeros

          November 14, 2016 at 10:58 pm

          Pence IS a little crazy.
          Trump has DEFINITELY supported gay rights at times…

          But Pence? I worry.

          • MrPurple

            November 15, 2016 at 7:12 am

            If you eliminate the liberal bullshit narratives that we’re supposed to believe about him,like good little Useful Idiots, what’s to worry about? Ignore their moonbatshitcrazy fear mongering designed to keep you in line and you will be fine.

    • GodLeros

      November 14, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Smart comment.
      It sucks.
      A criminal/con artist/Getting rich off gov and private Funding.


      A big mouth short fuse.

      I hope he does a good job. At least. But some of his cabinet choices already…

  9. Michael Hackett

    October 16, 2016 at 1:59 am


    • MrPurple

      October 20, 2016 at 1:40 am

      Paid taxes so many didn’t have to. Guaranteed loans. Invested millions in capital and took risks. Hillary and President Stupid just pissed away trillions of OPM.

  10. rondonaghe

    October 16, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Giving only a passing nod to the argument against a Trump presidency that he would appoint anti-gay justices to the supreme court and then glossing it over with the idea that Trump, personally, could not accomplish an overturn of Obergefell is actually the key reason LGBTs should not support Trump. Appointments to the Supreme Court will live on far beyond a single Trump term in the White House. Let’s say Trump manages to feed red meat to congress by appointing two justices like Scalia, who was certainly anti-gay. Gay rights and equal rights for LGBT people would be endangered for decades. Why even take a chance that we would be living under such a Damocles sword, where a final swipe at some future date did reverse Obergefell? Early on, as an Independent, I noted Trump’s off-the-cuff supportive remarks about LGBT people. But once he indicated the kind of nominees he would consider for the Supreme Court, I withdrew in horror. Compound that with his ongoing self-destructive, petulant temperament, and anyone can rightly see that he is simply not fit to be the President.

  11. Inis_Magrath

    October 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I don’t care if you call Trump a bigot or not. I only care about what he says he will do.

    And then Lampo writes, “It is certainly fair to criticize Trump for telling social conservatives that he would consider appointing justices to the Supreme Court who oppose the Obergefell decision, yet it would be extremely unlikely that even if Trump truly wanted to reverse it that he could do so.”

    First “Trump” can’t “reverse it” any more than ANY president can change a constitutional holding of the Supreme Court. But appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn Obergafell would lead to a Supreme Court that ABSOLUTELY CAN AND WILL overturn it. Obergefell was only a 5-4 decision.

    The Supreme Court overturns their prior holdings any time they get 5 votes to do so. The fact that David Lampo glosses over this by (1) misdirecting the focus onto Trump as president rather than the SCOTUS and (2) dishonestly saying this is unlikely — all leads me to conclude that Lampo does not care about LGBT civil rights and wants a right-wing president (Trump will do) no matter who gets hurt.

  12. Kyle Robinson

    October 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Umm… no mention of Mike Pence, who’s as anti gay as they come (and let’s all remember that a Trump/Pence winning ticket now sets Mikey up quite nicely for a presidential run in another 4 years). No mention of Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, and a bunch of other insignificant names that I can’t remember at the moment, all comprising an “advisory council” of sorts to Donnie- every last one of them anti gay. No mention of the fact that Republicans have shown open hostility for years towards gays, and all the religious exemption bills making their way through state legislatures, or the GOP desire to craft a national version of such a bill. And yes, an ultra conservative Supreme Court would be a bad thing for not only gays, but women too. A lot of us gays- and there are quite a few- have thoroughly thought of the ramifications of a Trump presidency, and want no part of it. And besides, he’s becoming more unhinged by the minute. The man can’t even deal with Alec Baldwin making fun of him on SNL. What’s he going to do if some foreign leader somewhere makes fun of him? Arm his nukes? Donald Trump- mental institution material, yes. Presidential material, no.

  13. uhhuhh

    October 17, 2016 at 8:02 am

    No “defense” deserves to be taken seriously when it simply erases Trump’s vows to repeal LGBT executive orders, sign the anti-gay FADA bill, and appoint ultra-conservative judges to eradicate our right to marry. This isn’t even a good piece of propaganda.

  14. Sam_Handwich

    October 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Lampo is apparently just another Trump troll on Putin’s payroll

  15. MrPurple

    October 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    “Oh noes! Trump said mean things about women! I better vote for Hillary who wants to import thousands who practice and promote oppression of women and executing gays! Screw the victims in Orlando! We need more like Omar Mateen to prove to the world how compassionate we are!”

    Why bother with the FRAUDS that are the gay left? They don’t care that WikiLeaks showed their champion is a phony. All they care about is their steady diet of Soros bullscat is uninterrupted. Don’t worry their pretty little heads with facts. Their 2 weeks of hate against Indiana shows they’re not grounded in reality.

    • cowboyinbrla

      October 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Stupid is as stupid does. Look in the mirror.

      • MrPurple

        October 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

        Wow. That’s just weak.

        • cowboyinbrla

          October 20, 2016 at 12:46 am

          What’s “weak” (actually, despicable) is your attribution of sentiments and words to Clinton that in no way reflect her outlook or beliefs. What’s “weak” is referring to 80+% of gay Americans as “FRAUDS”. What’s weak is buying into the unrelenting lies that the GOP has put out for 30+ years about this woman.

          And what’s beyond “weak” and into the realm of pathetic is supporting a racist, misogynist, vulgar pig who today suggested that he may just refuse to accept the election results on November 8. That’s the stuff of mob riots and coups and dictatorships, not the democracy we have enjoyed for 227 years. That’s the sign of a piece of crap.

          • MrPurple

            October 20, 2016 at 1:29 am

            “What’s “weak” (actually, despicable) is your attribution of sentiments and words to Clinton that in no way reflect her outlook or beliefs”

            You’re probably right. Based on the leaked emails, her personal and public views are opposite. She says that she wants to bring in thousands of refugees, but privately doesn’t believe that they can all be vetted properly. Plus, we discover that she’s not the gay champion you make her out to be. As I, and many others, have said, her flip-flop on gay marriage is all about money and power.

            “What’s “weak” is referring to 80+% of gay Americans as “FRAUDS”. What’s weak is buying into the unrelenting lies that the GOP has put out for 30+ years about this woman.”

            It’s even worse, sweetheart. Read the WikiLeaks, the Project Veritas videos and the FBI document dump,then tell me how she should be allowed anywhere near the White House. Further, don’t blame me. She and President Stupid selected Muslims over gays as the favored victim group.

            ‘That’s the stuff of mob riots and coups and dictatorships, not the democracy we have enjoyed for 227 years. That’s the sign of a piece of crap.”

            No doubt you were likewise critical of the moonbatshitcrazy lunatics who insisted Bush stole the 2000 election, right? What’s more, if that was the stuff of dictators, liberals would be flocking to him. Save your party approved excuses and bullshit points.

    • GodLeros

      November 9, 2016 at 1:57 am

      Well said.

  16. Cuberly

    October 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Why does this come across as, “What do you have to lose?”

    Well, every advance we’ve made over the past 7 years, and that’s a lot.

    • TheAmericanManual

      July 8, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      How is that going?

  17. Jill Springer Forrest

    October 17, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    There is no excuse for any LGBTQ people to support this homophobe. I guess it all comes back to the almighty dollar. You rich ones want the tax breaks, pure and simple and I call you sellouts.

  18. LesbianTippingHabits

    October 17, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    But the real issue is, how does David Lampo tip? Thank you.

  19. Culture Club Warrior

    October 18, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Whatever helps you sleep at night.

  20. Lesberatti

    October 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    For nearly 20 years I’ve tried to understand why a gay person would be a Republican. I am at a lost, other than Money being their only motivation.

    • GodLeros

      November 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      The 1000 other things a President does?

      I love your call name!

  21. lnm3921

    October 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Under a Trump Presidency, it would be Pence determining public policy with the input of our religious conservative opponents on GLBT issues. Trump would simply rubber stamp it.

    I don’t care about what Bill Clinton did on DOMA and DADT. We overcame those issues. Everyone was against marriage equality and integrating US troops before in both parties. Doesn’t excuse it but that was the reality. However, the party that specifically supports LGBT issues in their platform is the Democratic party while the GOP continues to support an ant-LGBT platform.

    Further, Trump continues to praise and court the input of our enemies blatantly and seems to be proud of it. Rick Santorum councils him. He gave Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council money. He has praised Jerry Fallwell, Jr. and has been seen kissing up to Pat Robertson. He’s made it clear he will appoint judges to reverse marriage equality, support a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and support religious freedom laws. The FADA is so comprehensive it would essentially nullify all GLBT protections in the name of religious freedom. Heck no!

    Look at who Trump surrounds himself with and who supports him. Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are!!

  22. Cole Guillaume

    October 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Trying to shoehorn Trump into the presidential slot is laughable. If conservatives are good with Trump that’s fine and all but I will judge anyone who votes for him as an idiot.

  23. GodLeros

    November 9, 2016 at 1:57 am

    That is not true.

  24. GodLeros

    November 9, 2016 at 1:58 am

    You are foolish to make the first statement. All my homosexual friends are Republicans except one.

    • Anonymous

      November 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      That is a most unusual sampling of gays. I know two out of about 100 personal friends who are gay (as I am). Neither of the two voted for Trump. Trump said he would “strongly consider” having the courts review Obergfalls decision which gave us nationwide same-sex marriage. Your group of gay Republican friends are probably filled with self-hatred to support such a candidate.

      • GodLeros

        November 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

        Oh no. No self hatred there. Not those guys/girls. But I should not have said “fooloish”.
        But they are very politically educated.
        It is because…as our public is forgetting… there are a thousand other issues a President deals with. It would be selfish to not consider them all.

        • Lesberatti

          July 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm

          Well if Destroying the environment, repealing laws that protect consumers, taking away healthcare and diminishing education standards are a part of the 1000 other things a president does then you are looking worse and worse for defending republicans.

  25. truthm0ng3r

    November 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Seeing the anti-Trump comments here just affirms the point of the article.

  26. billy batson

    January 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Absolute nonsense by the hysterical left wing government losers.
    Trump is not a gay hater, and while he respects religions of every faith, he is his own man and will not persecute gays.

  27. Donald Holland

    January 18, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Oh my…..

  28. CyrWhite

    January 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

    This may be an “opinion” piece, but it’s based on researching facts. In fact, I would say that everything these days is “opinion” even disguised as news. If you don’t know Trump’s lifelong record, research it yourself, independently. Anyone who thinks a lifelong Democrat from a solid blue city is beholden to “The Christian Right” or the GOP is not even thinking. They are reactionary. That Hillary was against gay marriage until she put her hat in the ring this time around (pretty sure I recall Obama was as well before he was elected) seems to elude those who just want to presume and hate based on those presumptions. RIghts are rights. They aren’t going away, and I hope they will actually be enhanced (especially gun rights for those of us who don’t pose a danger to anyone but an intruder) on every level, because they are OUR rights from our Creator, not from the government. They have overstepped their boundaries, and I hope our new president will continue to see it that way. That includes the government not telling people how to live their lives within limits of public safety. Finally, everyone needs to take a breath. I know we’re passionate, but I have to tell you that insulting people and calling names does nothing but harden hearts and divide. I am older and like Hillary, was for traditional marriage until I actually had someone gently ask why and convince me (gently throughout) that this was not going to affect my life, and that everyone has but one life and deserves to live it in the way that makes them happy. Wow. That’s all it took. Really. So calm down people. Learn how to be as tolerant of others as you want them to be of you. If you stop yelling and talking with contempt and assumption, you will do much better in moving forward TRUE social change. That comes when everyone is supportive and not fighting. Peace.

  29. CyrWhite

    January 22, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Makes zero sense. Trump was elected by Democrats, of which he belonged most of his life. The GOP establishment was against him all the way, and even tried to work with the DNC to ensure Trump’s defeat. Trump wants to improve our economy in the long term. That is his major goal. He has gays in his company and in his personal life. This is not something he is going to even glance at, as he looks at trade deals, taxes, and all the things that will bring prosperity to this country. The hysteria is not necessary. Has it occurred to any of you that if you (like many others) stop insulting and shouting, and instead work side by side with him on issues that matter to everyone, that you’d actually have progress? You all remind me of my son who continually called his grandfather (in his 80’s) a homophobe because he wouldn’t support his gay marriage position. That isn’t going to change anyone’s hearts or bring unity. It ruined a relationship that never repaired. Very sad.

  30. TheAmericanManual

    July 8, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    That is still not true.

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Congrats to Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky on coming out

An advocate for LGBTQ equality and reform of gun laws



Cameron Kasky (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Oh to come out again.

The excitement. The nervousness. The sheer terror? Announcing it over and over to that friend or to that coworker. When people ask when I came out I generally say freshman year. But more accurately it’s more of a question of when and to whom? Thinking about it all again, there’s really no scenario in which I want to relive that. After all that was 1995, not 2021. The experience has to be a bit different now, right? There are myriad differences between then and now — greater social acceptance, gay marriage, what have you — but one of the greatest differences is that one can sort of do it now in one fell swoop thanks to social media and sites like Twitter.  

That’s where gun control activist and Parkland massacre survivor Cameron Kasky chose to make his coming out announcement on Monday. You remember Cameron; he was a principal organizer of the 2018 March for Our Lives rally and somewhat a Twitter personality since then. I like him because he constantly picks on Trump loyalist and bobblehead model, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. 

In his coming out, Cameron noted that his “ability to proudly share who I am today only exists due to queer activists, specifically queer activists of color, giving their lives for our right to exist.” Yes, of course, and he’s right to pay homage to those who have come before and to mention queer people of color who have and continue in many ways to bear the brunt of social activism. A kid like Cameron, or let’s say a man like Cameron now, coming from a comfortable Florida upbringing, could have easily dismissed or ignored any of that and just coasted into a comfortable gay existence. But he recognized his privilege. And there’s a head nod to what might be coming, that is the obvious intersectionality of gun violence and anti-LGBTQ violence, not to mention really the scores of intersections of violence in America and the plight of minority groups. 

And it should be said that Cameron isn’t the only Parkland survivor to come out. X González came out as bisexual closer to the March for Our Lives rally. I’m sure you remember her and her powerful speech there, pausing for several minutes in honor of each of the 17 dead and 17 injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Leave it to the queer kids to lead the charge. 

I actually spent a morning with Cameron and a few of his fellow students leading up to the rally. I was essentially a media escort, driving them around to different interviews with local media outlets around Washington. We didn’t bond or anything and I doubt he remembers. What I remember are teenagers dealing with fame, trauma, and suddenly, but deftly, crafting a coherent and national message. Leave it to a theater kid like Cameron to see it through. I do remember being impressed, perhaps a bit perplexed, that listening to the radio in the van between interviews a 17-year-old knew that Prince actually wrote the Bangles head-bopper 80’s hit “Manic Monday.” I guess that should have been a giveaway. But we had other things on our mind that day.

Cameron closed his announcement saying that “to those of you who are also struggling to find an identity that you find authentic, take your time. Look inwards and indulge in your beauty and light. You’ll find so much to love, so much to be proud of.” So what’s next for Cameron? Well, I guess that’s up to Cameron really. And if he just wants to spend his gay 20s trading in fame here and there, he’s earned the right. But I doubt that would satisfy him. 

So what’s next? I guess there’s time, and the space, for all that. 

Congrats on coming out, Cameron. 

Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer who contributes regularly to the Blade.

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The road to DADT repeal — remember their names

‘Maybe not in my lifetime, but we are going to win in the end’



Lt. Dan Choi handcuffs himself to the White House fence in 2010. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

“Maybe not in my lifetime, but we are going to win in the end.” – Air Force TSgt. Leonard Matlovich, Sept. 19, 1975.

The road to repeal of the codified charade known colloquially as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), masquerading as something different than the Pentagon policy ban dating to World War II, was long and built by many hands. While a straight-identified Congress and president were necessary to reach the destination, LGBT Americans made it happen. But “DADT Speak” can unintentionally erase the some 100,000 discharged before its creation. The following focuses on some of the First Volunteers; those very few service members who chose to risk their careers by outing themselves, putting faces to the ban, without which it would still be destroying lives.

In March 1974, Leonard Matlovich was the happiest he’d ever been in his life. It had taken him until he was 30, and surviving thoughts of suicide-by-war and direct suicide, to finally accept and embrace that he was gay, and now he had a job that he loved: Race Relations Instructor for the Air Force. He was so good in this job that he was sent around the country to train other instructors. An African-American fellow instructor said that, “He has the classroom in the palm of his hand.” 

His department chief wrote, “As a Race Relations Instructor there is none better. His mastery of group dynamics and group facilitation has enabled him to conduct seminar after seminar around the difficult and sensitive subject of race relations without incident. He should be promoted to Master Sergeant well ahead of his contemporaries.” 

And then he read an interview with Frank Kameny in the Air Force Times.

World War II veteran Frank Kameny had a genius IQ and Harvard Ph.D. in astronomy. Hired by the Army Map Service (AMS) in 1957, his dream of being one of the first astronauts, in fact, his entire scientific career, crashed and burned when the AMS learned he was gay. LGBs were already banned in the military; now, per Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s Executive Order banning “sexual perversion” among civilian federal employees, he was fired five months later, and, worse, blackballed from employment by any other federal agency or private company or university receiving federal funding.

Unaffiliated with any gay group, he did what no other fired gay person had done. Eight years before Stonewall, he appealed his case against the Secretary of the Army to the Supreme Court in a self-penned brief whose eloquent fury still stuns today.

“The government’s regulations, policies, practices and procedures, as applied in the instant case to petitioner specifically, and as applied to homosexuals generally [including in the military], are a stench in the nostrils of decent people, an offense against morality, an abandonment of reason, an affront to human dignity, an improper restraint upon proper freedom and liberty, a disgrace to any civilized society, and a violation of all that this nation stands for. These policies, practices, procedures, and regulation have gone too long unquestioned, and too long unexamined by the courts.”

Yale Law School professor William Eskridge, Jr., later called it revolutionary, “the birth of Gaylegal Equality Arguments”; and Frank “the Rosa Parks and the Martin Luther King and the Thurgood Marshall of the gay rights movement.”

In a “court of last appeal” letter to newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy in May 1961, two months after the Court refused to hear his case, Kameny, still on his own, also denounced “the policies, practices, and official attitudes of the military” and “less-than-fully-honorable discharges.”

That November he cofounded the militant Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW; not a chapter of original Mattachine) whose four missions included challenging military homophobia— 29 years before the creation of the first national group dedicated to fighting the ban, and 32 years before its codification into DADT.

MSW’s unprecedented three pickets of the White House in 1965 included signs protesting the ban, and he led a picket at the Pentagon itself. 

 “STOP Wasting Taxpayers Money on Hunts for HOMOSEXUALS.” “65,000 Homosexual Sailors DEMAND NEW NAVY POLICY.” “Quarter Million Homosexual American Servicemen & Women Protest Armed Services Policies.” “15 Million U.S. Homosexuals Protest Treatment by Armed Forces.”

That year the Navy alone kicked out at least 1,365—some 100 more than all the branches kicked out in the worst year under DADT. 

The ban was the subject of the first same day, nationally coordinated gay rights protests in 1966. Frank led another Pentagon picket then flew to New York City to lead a protest there. He was essentially the only non-lawyer source of help for LGB service members trying to avoid being kicked out or at least be granted an Honorable Discharge characterization. 

Since at least 1964, he’d been looking for a “perfect test case” — a service member with a clean record willing to out themselves and fight the ban in court. Leonard Matlovich read that in the Air Force Times and called him describing his three tours in Vietnam, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and outstanding performance ratings. After a number of meetings, Leonard agreed to carry the banner, coming out on the front page of The New York Times and on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite on Memorial Day 1975.

The response was seismic, rippling from the Times to the Kokomo, Indiana, Tribune and around the world. So unlike the mainstream concept of a gay male one reporter asked him if he was really gay. The effect was magnified when he appeared in uniform on the cover of Time magazine with the bold, black caption “I Am a Homosexual”—putting a face on the ban for millions for the first time. Gay historian Nathaniel Frank, author of the definitive book on the evolution of DADT, “Unfriendly Fire,” said, “it began a national discussion on gay rights.” 

Accounts of his four-day discharge hearing filled newspapers and TV screens. When the Air Force board couldn’t see past “Homosexual” to the perfect airman, they recommended his discharge; Leonard telling the crush of reporters outside: “Maybe not in my lifetime, but we are going to win in the end.” He failed to overturn the ban, but a 1981 Pentagon mandate that, barring extenuating circumstances such as sex on base, all discharge characterizations for gays should be Honorable can be linked to his case. No one imagined how short his lifetime would be, but he filled it fighting for gay equality. Frank was the lead honorary pallbearer, walking by the horse-drawn caisson carrying his body in 1988, and today his grave in Washington’s Congressional Cemetery with its iconic gravestone is a place of pilgrimage next to a Veterans Administration cenotaph for Frank.

“Exemplary” Army Reserve Drill Instructor Miriam Ben-Shalom was honorably discharged in 1976 after refusing to deny she was a lesbian during questioning about her criticizing the discharge of Leonard Matlovich. In 1980, a federal judge ruled that her discharge violated the First, Fifth, and Ninth amendments of the Constitution—the first court ruling that the ban was unconstitutional and 30 years before the ruling against DADT in the Log Cabin Republicans challenge—and ordered her reinstated. The Army simply ignored the order for seven years; until a Circuit Court forced them to return her to duty. But they refused to allow her to reenlist at the end of that period of service. 

The Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal in February 1990. Three months later, she and five other veterans founded Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, the first such national lobby group; today American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER). She and several other veterans were arrested at the White House in 1993 protesting the ban’s refashioning as DADT. She was arrested there again in 2010 protesting President Obama’s slow walk on repeal along with eight fellow veterans and four civilians including myself.

Sgt. Perry Watkins’ 16-year adventure in the U.S. Army began when Lyndon Johnson was president and would not end until George Bush père sat in the Oval Office. It spanned the globe, sometimes a comedy, sometimes a tragedy. It was sometimes even a musical comedy—but it was always, just as the ban itself, nonsensical; here ignoring that he was gay, there trying to kick him out because he was gay. Year after year, time after time, he demanded justice; and, in the end, it was his own truth that set him free—the truth he had told from the very beginning, during his draft physical in 1967 when he was 19 and checked the box indicating “homosexual tendencies.” 

The first gay African-American soldier to make headlines, while the Army ignored a court order to reinstate Miriam, in May 1982, Watkins also became the first out gay service member returned to duty by a court. But he was kicked out again, and, eventually, the Supreme Court let a lower court ruling stand that he should be reinstated in the name of fairness. Like Leonard, for whom he was an honorary pallbearer in 1988, he chose a settlement; passing himself in 1996. 

Petty Officer Keith Meinhold, a certified Master Training Specialist teaching sonar crews on P-3 Orion aircraft how to hunt submarines outed himself on ABC’s World News Tonight on May 19, 1992. Formerly recognized as “Aircrew Instructor of the Year,” his usually perfect performance ratings drop. Without any evidence, they claimed knowledge of his sexual orientation had “adversely affected his performance of duty and adversely affected the good order and discipline.” Though given an honorable discharge he sued and was ordered reinstated. Overall, his return was met positively, and his crew continued to win new awards. He retired four years later with full military honors, naval band music, a Navy Achievement Medal, and a 60-foot American flag.

Purposely coinciding with Meinhold’s coming out the same day, 25-year old Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Tracy Thorne, first in his class in flight training, outed himself on “Nightline.” A bombardier-navigator flying A6 Intruders, like a ship on a roiling sea, his status repeatedly changed due to the unknowns of what might happen—or not—to the ban following Bill Clinton’s possible election, then election. He joined a five-week, 32-city cross-country veterans bus Tour of Duty to try to drum up public support for an end to the ban. He testified against the ban before the Senate Armed Services Committee — homophobic Sen. Sam Nunn’s dog and pony show where he was jeered by 1,000 sailors and Marines. To wild applause and laughter, infamous racist Sen. Strom Thurmond told him, “Your lifestyle is not normal. It’s not normal for a man to want to be with a man or a woman with a woman. Have you considered getting help from a medical or psychiatric standpoint?” He filed a lawsuit in 1994 and returned to active duty with the stipulation that the Navy could attempt to discharge him under DADT. In 1995, he was discharged. He sued again; his challenge ending when the Supreme Court refused to hear his case.

Their high-profile outings were planned to coincide with the same-day introduction of the long forgotten end-the-ban Military Freedom Act of 1992. Popular war hero and chair of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell’s statements to Congress killed not only that bill but crippled Bill Clinton’s intentions even before he had the party’s nomination. Powell: “Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics.” His disingenuous, pseudo intellectual way of saying, “they choose to be gay so it’s not a civil rights issue.”

Navy Reserve Lieutenant Zoe Dunning outed herself at a Jan. 16, 1993, rally in support of Keith Meinhold. She was allowed to stay in after convincing a board that “status” did not equal “conduct” — a finding immediately forbidden in future cases by the Pentagon. By retirement in 2007, she’d risen to the rank of commander, having served openly for more than 13 years. In December 2010, as co-chair of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Board of Governors, she was invited to stand next to the president as he signed the provisional DADT repeal bill. Co-founder Dixon Osburn just released “Mission Possible,” his account of the crucial role SLDN played in ending the ban.

Former Marine of the Year Sergeant Justin Elzie had served 10 years when he outed himself on “World News Tonight” on Jan. 29, 1993. The Corps reneged on their existing approval for his early separation in April with benefits, moving to honorably discharge him immediately with none. He testified to Congress in support of ending the policy ban. A judge ordered he be retained until his legal challenge was resolved. He eventually settled out of court, receiving the early retirement bonus after having served as an out gay Marine for four more years during which he was recommended for promotion three times. He was one of our 13 arrested at the White House in November 2010 demanding DADT repeal.

Twenty-three-year old Desert Storm veteran and former Sixth Army Soldier of the Year Joe Zuniga outed himself at a huge event honoring gay military activists the night before the April 1993 March on Washington, including Meinhold and Thorne. “The roar was deafening. People cried. People hugged each other.” – The Washington Post. The next morning the three joined the veterans’ contingent in the march with hundreds of thousands.

Conversely, his Army command was enraged, discharging him, however honorably, in record time—in less than a month. They also brutally demoted him from Sergeant to Specialist after falsely accusing him of wearing a decoration he had not earned. His battalion commander melodramatically threw newspapers in which his story had appeared into a trashcan during his administrative hearing. But he continued to speak out all across America, and appeared in the historic first national gay TV ad; created for the Campaign for Military Service, an ad hoc group representing multiple existing gay groups hoping to offset the rabidly homophobic campaign of those in and out of the Democratic-controlled Congress determined to prevent President Bill Clinton from ending the ban. He also travelled the country and TV newsrooms trying to promote public support.

Army First Lieutenant and Iraq veteran Dan Choi came out on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on March 19, 2009, resulting in his discharge in June 2010. Far from just another came-out-on-TV story, Dan was the first Asian-American to become a leader in the anti-ban movement, and shook that movement when he began to engage in nonviolent direct action in the second year of the Obama administration after the president broke his promise to start working with Congress to end DADT when he took office. Dan allied with new direct action group GetEQUAL, and a small but growing number of people joined him in handcuffing themselves to the White House fence (including transgender veteran Autumn Sandeen); each time growing more media coverage, never more critical than in November 2010 when word went round that the repeal provision bill, stalled in the lame duck Congress, was going to be withdrawn likely damning the chance for repeal for years. Republicans would take over the House in 2011.

I have no proof that the action Dan led that month, joined by Miriam, Justin, et al., helped salvage the bill and, thus, repeal. I can only say that I am proud to have been next to them; one wrist handcuffed to the White House fence behind me; and holding Leonard’s Time magazine cover aloft with my free hand.

“Remember your roots, your history, and the forebears’ shoulders on which you stand.” – Marion Wright Edelman. 

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Biden should develop national digital vaccine passport now

Those who refuse shots must be locked out of travel, jobs, schools



COVID-19 vaccine, gay news, Washington Blade

President Biden finally mandated vaccinations for all federal employees and Mayor Bowser has started doing the same for city employees. It is time to take every legal avenue to mandate people get vaccinated since so many don’t seem to have the will or even compassion for their children and the community to do it on their own. The president proposed Executive Orders including asking the Department of Labor to set a rule mandating every company with over 100 employees demand they be vaccinated or tested weekly. Interesting to hear Mike Pence blast Biden’s vaccine speech: ‘Unlike anything I’d ever heard from an American president.’” Clearly he has only listened to Republican lies and BS.

D.C. LGBTQ bars took the lead to require vaccinations for admission, now it is up to the mayor to mandate this. In the meantime every restaurant, bar, and public venue must do the same. If we are a society that really cares for each other, mandating vaccinations is a way to prove it and enforce care for the community. It’s past time to stop coddling those who refuse to get vaccinated. 

The president must now immediately order a national digital vaccine passport to help those vaccinated prove it in places that require it. The United States must join other nations of the world who already have done this. Add it to Global Entry requirements. Mr. President, stop prevaricating and do it now. No one is required to have this proof but if they don’t they should be locked out of travel, jobs, schools, and entertainment venues requiring vaccination. 

Airlines should announce those who aren’t vaccinated but eligible will not be allowed to fly and Amtrak should do the same for rail travel. Mr. President, support the Safe Travel Act introduced by Don Beyer (D-Va.), which mandates this. You shouldn’t be able to enter a baseball or football stadium without proof of vaccination. You should need proof to enter a movie theater. Theaters in New York and D.C. now require proof of vaccination to buy a ticket. It’s not hard to do if the will is there.

I was in Rehoboth Beach for the two weeks before Labor Day and appalled at indoor bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that didn’t require proof of vaccination or even masks. I heard regularly about breakthrough COVID cases in outdoor venues I went to, so clearly there were many cases of those who weren’t vaccinated. CAMP Rehoboth had trouble selling tickets to its SunFest concerts and then did the right thing requiring proof of vaccination and a mask and sales picked up as people were more comfortable going to what became very successful events. The Washington Blade recently announced it would require proof of vaccination to attend its Sept. 17 benefit in Rehoboth to raise funds for the Steve Elkins Memorial Fellowship given out by the Blade Foundation. I applaud the Blade for doing the responsible thing. 

We may never be fully rid of COVID but surely we must do everything we can to protect each other and our children even if it means mandating people to do the right thing. I write as an older American and cancer survivor who spent 10 months eating every meal alone to protect myself during the pandemic. I wore a mask to protect both myself and others with whom I came in contact. It wasn’t that difficult. It still isn’t. When Mayor Bowser reinstated the mask requirement for all indoor settings in D.C. I put my mask back on everywhere including in the hallways and lobby of my condo building. I wore it when I went to visit a neighbor currently going through chemotherapy to protect her. Again, so simple to do. 

It is beyond comprehension why a parent wouldn’t want to protect their unvaccinated child. Why they would fight to keep their child from wearing a mask in school when they know how many children are now getting sick. Judges are debating whether Gov. Ron DeSantis’s no masks in school order in Florida is legal and whether he has the authority to mandate it around the state. Another judge stayed his order mandating cruise ships embarking from Florida having to take unvaccinated passengers. One questions whether in the long run, as more children get sick and some die, DeSantis’s views will continue to be a winning political strategy for him. Clearly his policies aren’t based in science. In the end, when the rubber meets the road, people are into self-preservation no matter how long and hard they first rejected it.  

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

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