We’re bearing down on President Trump’s first 100 days in office. So far, the whole thing has been as unpredictable as it has been utterly surreal. President Trump? It still sounds so very weird to say. But yet, here we are.
No one really knew, too, during the campaign what this whole thing would mean for gays and lesbians. After all, there was soon-to-be-Vice President Mike Pence, the sexually repressed braintrust behind the Indiana anti-gay religious freedom bill turned huge debacle. But there was also that bizarre moment, as the New York Times pointed out this week, where Trump fluttered a large rainbow flag at one of his trademark raucous rallies. Granted, while he was doing so, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” was blaring, which I’m guessing is the song that most Republicans choose to masturbate to. So, again, who knows what that meant. I’m guessing he had no idea what that flag symbolized.
As I laid out in a column following his election, LGBT Americans could face assaults from all sides during the Trump presidency. And not from Trump himself really, but from his religious-right appointees and the policies they enact. Here are but a few we’ve seen already, and remember, we haven’t even hit 100 days yet.
We Don’t Count. As the Blade reported last month, we’ve essentially been erased. According to a draft of the 2020 Census, sexual orientation and gender identity will not be questions in the counting of Americans. And to be sure, this is some bullshit. So much is gleaned from the Census. More importantly, precious resources are allocated based on that information. More broadly still, it’s not just the law, the nuts and bolts and practicalities of them, that matters sometimes. It’s the tone the law sets. Setting in stone what matters to a society and the values it intends to uphold. Just like it wasn’t the actual hate crime legislation passed almost a decade ago that was important, though not being beaten up and killed of course is important. It was the government being on record that that wasn’t cool anymore that really spoke volumes. Now the record is being altered.
Anti-Trans Attacks. I guess we can just ask former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory if beating up on transgender Americans still carries with it some political expediency. Apparently, some still think so. Now under the auspices of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (yes, really), the Justice Department began rolling back Obama-era protections for transgender school children.
Trickle-Down Hate. Eric Fanning was Obama’s pick to be Secretary of the Army, the largest branch of the U.S. military. Fanning, himself gay, did a great deal to make the armed forces more inclusive and hospitable to LGBT Americans wishing to serve. Trump’s pick for this position is Tennessee state legislator Mark Green, and he’s referred to us as “diseased.” What does this mean going down the chain of command? What does it mean when he and others like him assume positions within Trump’s executive branch and begin setting a tone of spite and malice toward LGBT Americans?
All of these people and their policies will have to play out. In many ways we will be fighting a war on a thousand fronts, from what seems every other state legislature or school board across the country at times. And really, who knows what’s to come from a hundred different Mark Greens and dozens of Jeff Sessions? As Pride month nears and the national march for LGBT rights approaches, the question could very well be not what are we marching for but what are we not marching for.
Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer who contributes regularly to the Blade.