November 9, 2016 at 9:05 am EST | by Kevin Naff
Here’s how President Trump could undermine LGBT rights
Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade, presidential election

Donald Trump (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The stunning result of Tuesday’s presidential election stands as a chilling reminder of the work ahead. After eight years of President Obama’s fierce advocacy, we grew complacent. We assumed that since a bare majority of straight Supreme Court justices voted our way on marriage that the fight was over. We were wrong.

The United States remains a deeply sexist, racist, homophobic culture and undoing and overcoming those prejudices will take more than filing a few well-timed lawsuits. Realizing those cultural changes takes generations and most of us won’t see the end of that road in our lifetimes. For those of us who remember when gay people were hated and persecuted during the onset of the AIDS epidemic — or those older still who remember the height of the Civil Rights Movement — Tuesday’s result hurts but also serves as a reminder that social change movements take time and are marked by setbacks.

It was only a few years ago that marriage equality was a dream; George W. Bush was president and cynically used our rights as a wedge issue to win swing states; and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land. Obama brought change to the bully pulpit, but one person alone can’t change the culture.

Now the LGBT community is back on defense; the campaign is over and it’s time to dust ourselves off and prepare for the myriad fights ahead. They will include preserving President Obama’s executive actions related to LGBT rights, especially his 2014 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. Also at risk is a rule prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in health care and insurance and a Department of Housing & Urban Development regulation prohibiting anti-LGBT bias in government-sponsored housing. Trump has said he’d appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of the anti-LGBT Antonin Scalia, potentially putting the marriage equality ruling in jeopardy. Trump has said he would sign the First Amendment Defense Act, a “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination across the country. In an interview in May, he said he would rescind the joint guidance from the Departments of Justice and Education prohibiting schools from discriminating against transgender students and guaranteeing them access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

There’s more. Advocates have said they fear Trump could roll back administrative changes, such as those benefiting LGBT veterans or status of forces agreements allowing service members to bring a same-sex spouse with them overseas, or halting movement on lifting the ban on openly transgender service.

As painful as this result is for LGBT Americans, it’s worse for our allies among people of color, immigrants, Muslims and others so cruelly demonized and attacked by Trump during the campaign. There is real anxiety among immigrants who fear Trump’s oft-repeated threats of deportation forces and walls. The hopes of Syrian and other refugees fleeing civil war and ISIS attacks for a chance at freedom in America are dashed today. It’s my hope that LGBT movement leaders will stand in solidarity with other underrepresented groups in Trump’s crosshairs.

And as we mourn this outcome from the comfort of our homes and offices, the Blade is reporting on yet another murder of a transgender woman of color, this time in Richmond, Va. Noony Norwood was shot and killed on Sunday, marking the 23rd reported killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in the United States that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has responded to in 2016. Yes, Trump is awful, but some in our community are fighting more urgent battles just to live and work free from violence.

So, yes, we are shocked and disheartened. But the road to equality is long. This is a detour, not a dead end. Take a day to mourn, then take comfort in how far the LGBT movement has come in eight quick years and get back to work.

Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

  • What is even more revealing and disturbing to me is the choice he has made as running mate in Mike Pence. His history shows he is a Christian Evangelical religious fanatic and dangerous foe to the gay community. He has fought hard to prevent any gay rights advances in his career, was vehemently against same-sex marriage and believes in religiously-fueled “conversion-therapy” to rid the evil forces of homosexuality out of the body through Jesus and holy water. Trump, however, never seemed particularly homophobic or demonizing of gays in private life. He was no ally of the LGBT community, but no real enemy of it either. He certainly will not make furthering gay rights a priority and I hope he dos not seek to overturn any progress we made under Obama !

  • FernandoHoliday se tornou conhecido devido ao seu envolvimento com oMovimento Brasil Livre (MBL), grupo que se notabilizou por aliar-seao Eduardo Cunha para concretizar o impeachment de Dilma Rousseff. Opartido escolhido pelo “apartidário” Fernando para eleger-se foio DEM, oriundo do antigo PFL e uma das mais conservadoras agremiaçõespolíticas do quadro partidário atual. A tão proclamada e anunciada “renovação” da política tradicional terminou,assim, ressuscitando um partido que representa as ideias maisarcaicas e reacionárias.
    Masnão é só isso. Holiday, que é gay assumido e negro, defendeu, emseu primeiro pronunciamento depois de eleito, justamente a extinçãoda Secretaria de Igualdade Racial e a da “Secretaria LGBT” (quesequer existe, pois há apenas uma coordenadoria sobre a temáticavinculada à Secretaria de Direitos Humanos).

  • “It’s my hope that LGBT movement leaders will stand in solidarity with other underrepresented groups in Trump’s crosshairs.”
    Will they stand in solidarity with us or will it be one-way? I am all for supporting others but I expect the same support from them. It’s not guaranteed.

    Yes, Trump is awful, but Pence is going to be the driving force shaping many of his public policy decisions, Supreme Court Picks and legislative priorities. Remember that Pence said he’s a Christian first before he’s even a Republican. He has a score to settle with our community given the pressure he was put under in Indiana to rescind their discriminatory religious freedom law. Now with a GOP controlled Congress, there is little they won’t be pushing against us. Pence has a deep friendship with Paul Ryan so he can get him to support his agenda.

    As much as I’d like to see Trump go, imagine him being impeached for example later, then Pence taking over!

    I’d say we should be planning on another GLBTQ march on Washington to show or solidarity and resolve. To show we refuse to have our progress rolled back and that we will not be intimidated into accepting less. It will also serve as a much needed morale booster to ourselves when we are supported by a sea of others like ourselves! Our strength and energy comes from each other!

    We also need to get business leaders and other allies that supported us in Indiana and North Carolina to defend us before Congress and demand that Congress pass no discriminatory legislation against us.

  • The Knave of Guilford speaks; slop, jingo, fear,
    “deeply sexist, racist, homophobic culture” Are we in Baltimore?

    Political observations from half wit Peter Rosenstein. What could go wrong?

    I saw Chris Crain, Naff’s puppetmaster, on the street the other day. I almost threw up.

    Be afraid, be very afraid all the time. Send money, Chad Griffin needs a job.

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