November 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm EST | by James Driscoll
LGBT Trump voters are the forgotten Americans
LGBT Vote, gay news, Washington Blade

Attendees of ‘Wake Up! The Most FAB Party at the RNC’ during the Republican National Convention. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Republican share of the LGBT vote has dropped from 27 percent for John McCain, to 22 percent for Mitt Romney to an abysmal 14 percent with Donald Trump. Trump, and even Mike Pence, know they can do better, and they want to do better.

The 86 percent of LGBT people who voted for their opponents must learn to live for 4-8 years under Trump-Pence. Our new president is the most pro-LGBT Republican candidate ever. LGBT people need to work with him to protect essential HIV programs and to advance our rights at every opportunity.

For Trump, the rebel 14 percent can become a bridge to a bigger LGBT vote. Trump promises to reach out and listen to “the forgotten Americans.”  The LGBT non-PC 14 percent are the most forgotten of all. That needs to change for the good of the Republican Party, all LGBT people and all Americans.

Trump respects loyalty and loves loyalists. We of the 14 percent are among the most tested of all Trump loyalists. We salute our Hispanic and black brothers and sisters for Trump who rejected groupthink to follow conscience. Like us, they endured bullying, abuse and ostracism for their political beliefs.

Juan Hernandez, a fellow Log Cabin Republican, was attacked by anti-Trump thugs at a Trump rally. He was bloodied, and suffered a concussion and broken nose. “Coming out as gay was really difficult,” Juan said, “but coming out as a Trump Republican was far more difficult.”

In June, my own support of Trump cost me my 15-year long position as political consultant to AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Three weeks ago my landscaping was vandalized for my sin of displaying a Trump sign in my yard. Juan’s and mine are just two among hundreds of abuses suffered by the rebel 14 percent who followed their consciences to vote for Trump.

Outreach to rich gays like Peter Thiel is great, but not enough. Trump must reach out to the forgotten LGBT voters who paid a high price in bullying and ostracism to support him.

Soon, Trump needs to reach out to forgotten People Living with HIV, who fear their lifelines to vital HIV drugs and care may be endangered. Their existential fears are real and becoming more widespread.  The one place Trump should never emulate Ronald Reagan is his reputation for forgetting about people with AIDS.

Several HIV and LGBT presidential initiatives are imperative: First, assurance that access to care and treatment for people with AIDS and other life-threatening diseases will not suffer any disruption as ACA is replaced. Second, protect and re-authorize the Ryan White Care Act.

Third, drug price/access negotiation is almost certain to become an issue in the next Congress. Trump has promised to use his negotiation skills to gain better deals for American patients. He must also speed research through tax incentives, by cutting FDA red tape, and improving NIH. The lives of HIV patients in developing countries matter. Trump’s State and Commerce departments must negotiate agreements to end access crippling tariffs in countries that still tax essential pharmaceuticals.

Those Trump supporters who heard his call to protect women’s and LGBT rights from terrorism and bigotry posturing as religion must not be disappointed. Trump should re-affirm this commitment as president. To us, Jihadism and Sharia are Hitler in a burka.  We trust Trump to never sell out women’s and LGBT lives and rights for 30 barrels of oil. We hope Trump can become, like Churchill, a leader with the vision and courage to confront the greatest threats to freedom and universal human rights in our time.

LGBT Americans need more than just tolerance, equality dictates recognition. Gays played key roles in major civil rights movements—remember Harvey Milk, originally a Republican, and Bayard Rustin. They are true American heroes, yet neither gets the recognition his achievements and sacrifices merit. Remember dying AIDS activists whose protests speeded treatments for HIV and spearheaded the worldwide patient rights movement; their heroism still gets scant notice.

It is only reasonable and fair that LGBT people be given open recognition proportional to our numbers, contributions and sacrifices. The thousands of LGBT vets and those who gave their lives in America’s wars deserve open recognition. Above all, America must never forget the millions of LGBT lives blighted or destroyed by bigotry during America’s long failure to grant LGBTs the protections guaranteed under the 14th Amendment and the equal respect and justice required by the Judeo-Christian ethic.

James Driscoll, Ph.D., is a longtime AIDS activist and member of Log Cabin Republicans.

  • “First, assurance that access to care and treatment for people with AIDS and other life-threatening diseases will not suffer any disruption as ACA is replaced. Second, protect and re-authorize the Ryan White Care Act.”

    What? Do you mean to tell us Mr. Driscoll, that you, a seasoned political consultant for AIDS organizations, and your likeminded LCR brethren didn’t have those assurances before you supported Mr. Trump eschewing Mrs. Clinton who would have continued unimpeded critical care for HIV/AIDS related illnesses? Now that was pretty f–king stupid wasn’t it? Of course, I appreciate the lecture as to how “we” who did vote for Clinton, now all need to rise up and fix the Trump sh-t show that people like yourself wrought on the LGBT community. Then again, didn’t you say we just need to find a way to live with it for the next 4 – 8 years, except of course those who relied on the ACA for care. Their prospects of out- living the Trump presidency have been considerably diminished now haven’t they Jim.

  • “‘Wake Up! The Most FAB Party at the RNC”

    Oh, the irony of them using being woke…

  • What is this dribble? I don’t have to come to grips with Trump being President or Pence VP anymore than you came to terms with Obama being President or Biden VP! Many social conservatives refused to accept Obama and opposed him tooth and nail since he was first elected. Stop being so presumptuous.

    Trump the most pro-lgbt GOP President ever? Really? How so? I wouldn’t know that from his recent appointment like Session as AG who is very anti-lgbt. Many of our enemies have been or are being considered for key positions. Pence as a VP pick said it all from the get go!

    He’s promised to support Religious Freedom Restoration ACTS and the FADA. He plans to appoint extremist to the judicial bench. Stop feeding us your right-wing BS and propaganda! He’s done or said nothing to make us believe otherwise.

    Nothing Trump promises can be trusted anyway. He’s even lied to his own supporters on key issues he said he’d support. He flip flops constantly. You cannot trust someone like that. Beside it’s Pence that will be pushing the public policy and Trump rubber stamping it! Wake up and stop living in denials!

  • Sorry to hear this guy’s friend was assaulted and that his yard was vandalized. But, c’mon. Saying Trump is the most pro-LGBT Republican candidate (despite choosing Pence who is the most anti-LGBT Republican as his VP) means the bar is awfully low. You’re judged by the company you keep. In this case all you need to do is look at the people Trump surrounds himself with. Not to mention the bullies and terrorists assaulting GLBT people and people of color all around the country in his name. I also seem to recall Trump saying plenty of unkind things about our community during the campaign. How any self-respecting GLBT person could vote for bullies like Trump and Pence is beyond me.

  • “Our new president is the most pro-LGBT Republican candidate ever.” That’s faint but damning praise considering the bar is so low it’s resting on the ground. Following this praise, the sycophantic author posts a wish list that will get the attention the Trumpets think it deserves: none. If Trump and his growing band of cronies were truly pro-LGBT, there wouldn’t need to be a futile wish list by yet another self-defeating, delusional Trumpet. I’ll read anyone’s well-considered opinion; this is not one of them.

  • Well, Mama always said that there will always be some chickens that vote for Colonel Sanders.

  • It’s just sad. The idea that the author thinks 86% of our community voted against Trump because we couldn’t think for ourselves is repulsive. Equally repulsive is that there is 14% of our community that is being fooled by this flim flam man. Do you somehow think that you are more enlightened to the truth? That the media has brainwashed us? Or maybe you just think we’re stupid.
    One thing I must confess, I hope you are more right than we are cuz our version of Trump will spell disaster for all too many of our community.

  • Nice article. Ignore all the morons below.

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