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LGBT Trump voters are the forgotten Americans

The 14 percent of us voted for him can become a bridge

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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.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Im Just Sayin

    November 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    “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.

  2. ☽ Majorana Fermion ☾

    November 23, 2016 at 8:29 pm

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

    Oh, the irony of them using being woke…

  3. lnm3921

    November 23, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    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!

  4. RakSiam

    November 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

    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.

  5. OneUrsineOne

    November 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    “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.

  6. DrWolf927

    November 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm

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

  7. JoJoViolet

    November 26, 2016 at 12:28 am

    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.

  8. Count Dracula

    November 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Nice article. Ignore all the morons below.

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Opinions

Congress must act, Democrats in Virginia must vote

Fighting to save our democracy from Trump loyalists

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The time has come for Democrats in Congress to vote on both the hard and soft infrastructure bills. Failure to do so will invariably lead to Republicans taking back Congress and that is unthinkable considering where they stand on so many issues.

To stop that from happening the House of Representatives must first pass the trillion-dollar hard infrastructure bill, already passed by the Senate, in time for Terry McAuliffe to stand up in his race for governor of Virginia and show what Democrats in office can do. This bill will bring billions to Virginia. But that is not enough. Virginia Democrats must come out to vote in record numbers to keep Trump stand-in Youngkin from winning. Make no mistake he is only a stand-in for the former president. He is a lacky with a lot of money trying to buy the race with lies and innuendo. He is anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, and has gleefully accepted the endorsement of a liar, misogynist, sexist, racist pig who is still trying to destroy our democracy. Democrats must come out and vote to show the nation and the world that is not who America is and we aren’t dumb enough to fall for his stand-in lackey. 

All that Democrats really should need to know to vote against Youngkin is his acceptance of Trump’s endorsement. The man who had his top aides and advisers plan to overthrow our government on Jan. 6. One simply needs to read the story in the Washington Post on how Giuliani, Bannon and others had a ‘command center’ at the Willard Hotel, steps from the White House, to plan the Jan. 6 insurrection. As reported, “The effort underscores the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Pence to delay or even block certification of the election, leveraging any possible constitutional loophole to test the boundaries of American democracy.”

This despicable collection of people who met at the Willard, and their leader Trump, can truly be called out for treason. These people are homegrown terrorists. They instigated a riot at the Capitol that threatened the lives of members of Congress and the rioters even threatened to hang the vice president if he didn’t do Trump’s bidding. This is the endorsement happily accepted by Trump stand-in Youngkin.

So it comes down to whether Democrats will come out to vote in Virginia on Nov. 2. Will they show the world they care enough to act and vote? Will they convince their family, friends, and neighbors of the importance of this election and of voting for Terry McAuliffe and the entire Democratic slate? If they don’t the headline won’t read ‘Youngkin wins,’ it will read ‘Trump wins’. That has to be an unacceptable outcome for any decent person. 

As reported, “Republicans Christine Todd Whitman (former governor of New Jersey and EPA Administrator in the George W. Bush administration) and Miles Taylor (chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Trump administration) have an important message they wrote in their New York Times piece, “We Are Republicans. There’s Only One Way to Save Our Party From Pro-Trump Extremists,” stating “Rational Republicans are losing the party civil war. And the only near-term way to battle pro-Trump extremists is for all of us to team up on key races and overarching political goals with our longtime political opponents: the Democrats.” We can only hope decent Republicans will take that recommendation under consideration this year and vote for McAuliffe in Virginia.

The McAuliffe election will be a lens into what can happen in the mid-terms in 2022. If Democrats lose in Virginia it will just motivate Trump Republicans to get out and vote and fund other Trump lackies across the nation. Instead of Trump finally fading into obscurity he will be revitalized and that will be sad for the nation. If McAuliffe wins and Joe Biden can sign those two  infrastructure bills, along with ending the war in Afghanistan, Democrats will know what is possible. They will be motivated to work to ensure Democrats keep Congress. It is what we need to save our democracy.

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

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What do the gays do about Facebook?

We are hopelessly hooked on dangerous social media

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Let me just put all my cards on the table — I enjoy Facebook. I get a lot out of it. Instagram, not so much. But I think that’s more of a generational thing. But after recent events, I just feel a little icky about it all. I mean, don’t you? 

After the damning and didn’t-we-know-all-along Senate testimony by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, being on Facebook just seems, well, a little gross. Yes, I know the irony that I am criticizing Facebook via a column that will ultimately be shared on Facebook, so don’t bother pointing that out. 

The long and short of it — evidence shows that Facebook is lying to us all about making any real progress against hate speech, violence, and the spread of misinformation. And aren’t those all red flags for the queer community? Essentially, Facebook isn’t just harmful to the self, but to whole groups and even societies. The parallels between this and the queer community are obvious ones. Again, aren’t our physical safety and overall wellbeing fairly paramount issues for the queer community? 

Take this one point for example: the evidence of harm to ourselves by ourselves. According to the documents Haugen supplied, Facebook’s sister company Instagram essentially makes 13.5% of teen girls have thoughts of suicide. Have there been any thoughts on how social media might be impacting LGBT teens? According to the Trevor Project’s 2020 study, 15% of LGBT teens attempted suicide in the past year. Forty percent had thoughts about it. Both numbers are staggeringly high on their own and also staggeringly higher than for their straight counterparts. I would like to know what role social media plays in this. But, like Haugen’s Senate testimony, I think we all know the answer to that already. What with bullying and the spread of hate speech, it simply can’t be good. 

And that’s just the issue of self-harm. What about the other issues of hate speech and misinformation? Yes, the queer community has enjoyed greater social acceptance in America. But that is by no means universal. Take the plight of trans teens, last year one of the far right’s go-to punching bags and boogey men — this time for the non-issue of high school sports. Talk about the spread of misinformation. I could enlighten us all by doing a deep dive on the right’s social presence, spreading their general talking points on the trans community, but such an exercise would be both stomach churning and time consuming. 

As for queer adults, I’m not sure if things can be much better. You sometimes hear that life is just high school with money. To that I would add: then gay men can be at times that mean group of eighth grade girls. Yes, it’s true. We can be pretty damn ugly to one another. Facebook and Instagram clearly aren’t helping any of this. But can we let it go? Aren’t we all hooked? Sometimes you’ll hear when someone snaps a picture of a group event or party, post it on Facebook ‘or it didn’t happen.’ Granted you don’t hear this much anymore as so many folks, especially younger gays, have drifted off to other platforms, but honestly is there much of a difference? And to post it or it didn’t happen? Who is that for but those who weren’t there?

Who knows what will happen? I mean, what with octogenarian superstars Sens. Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein on this, I’m sure meaningful reform and oversight are just over the horizon. Maybe it’s time we start policing ourselves? Demanding better from our community on social media first? I’m wondering what that might look like. Until then, I guess we’ll just keep scrolling, like we have been doing. Over and over and over. 

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

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McAuliffe YES, Trump NO, for governor of Va.

Youngkin is a stand-in for disgraced former president

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Terry McAuliffe, Equality Virginia, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Vote Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia because he will be a great governor. Reality is the alternative is Donald Trump who may be calling himself Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, but don’t be fooled, Youngkin is only a stand-in for Trump.

Virginians know and respect McAuliffe. He was a successful governor in his first term and is a decent and honorable man. Had Virginia law allowed him to run for a second consecutive term he would have won easily. He has a stellar record of moving the state forward on equal justice and equal opportunity, civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. 

The first executive order McAuliffe issued upon taking office in 2014 banned anti-LGBTQ discrimination against state employees. He vetoed religious freedom bills, created Virginia’s LGBTQ tourism board, and became the first Virginia governor to declare June as Pride month. He was the first governor of a southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding.

He recently said, “As governor, I will fight my heart out to make Virginia the most open, welcoming and inclusive state in the nation, and break down the disparities that LGBTQ communities, and particularly communities of color, face in education, health care, the economy and more. Together, we’ll move Virginia forward into a better, brighter future for all.”

When it comes to women’s rights McAuliffe staved off attacks by extreme Republicans who controlled the Virginia Legislature during his tenure. He fought for women’s health care rights and fought to keep open every women’s health clinic in the state. He vetoed legislation that would have harmed women, including a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Virginia. 

On civil rights he said one of his proudest accomplishments was being able to reverse a racist Jim Crow law disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Virginians. McAuliffe restored the right to vote to more than 200,000 Virginians with felony convictions allowing them to fully participate in democracy after serving their time.

He was good for business and during his term as governor had a record of bringing more than 200,000 good paying jobs to the state and oversaw a lowered unemployment rate and an increase in personal income of over 13 percent. McAuliffe understands early investments in the state’s infrastructure helps the state to be a national leader in clean energy. 

These and so many other positive reasons are why Virginians should vote for Terry McAuliffe. 

But there are also many reasons to vote against Trump stand-in, Glenn ‘Trump’ Youngkin. The first is Trump saying, “he has my complete and total endorsement!” 

Youngkin continues to spread the Trump lie by still fighting the 2020 election and calling for an audit of Virginia election machines. He regularly speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He got caught on tape behind closed doors telling donors he won’t “go squishy” on banning abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood. He added, “As a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get.” Then he is still casting doubts on the COVID vaccine. He claims he is telling people to get vaccinated against COVID and then is recorded telling others it is their choice. He is against mandating vaccines for teachers and healthcare workers. His ads feature a teacher, who is a Trumper, endorsing his education program (a disaster) but who is opposed to mandating vaccines for teachers. They feature healthcare workers endorsing him who are against a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.  Youngkin is trying to buy the Virginia election saying he would raise $75 million but most from his own vast fortune, actually trying to buy it for Trump. 

Virginia Democrats and right-thinking independents and Republicans must come out in large numbers to repudiate Donald Trump once-and-for-all by casting their votes for Terry McAuliffe. 

Let’s hope Trump voters in Virginia stay home this year. But McAuliffe can’t count on that to win. It will take Democrats in huge numbers to give McAuliffe the same big win Joe Biden had over Trump in Virginia in 2020. If that happens Democrats will also keep the House of Delegates and win the other statewide races. 

Remember, when you vote for McAuliffe you vote for the man named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine in his last term. Virginians should give him a well-deserved second term.

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

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