A popular clickbait caption last week read, “Trump Says He Is ‘Fine’ With Same-Sex Marriage.” Each article used this spin in their headlines discussing Trump’s recent 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl. It wasn’t shocking to view a lackluster message to his bigoted followers, or a suggestion to reverse Roe v. Wade. The interview aired during the same span of time where he appointed his Chief of Staff, Steve Bannon, ringleader of the alt-right. Then there’s his vice president who believes gays can be electrocuted into heterosexuality. Tell me again, why does Donald Trump deserve a chance?
It should be no shock that the mainstream news outlets fixated on this, with attempts to neutralize the polarization in our country. These are the same networks and publications that treated a Trump victory as unattainable and considered the president elect a joke. Now as he assembles his cabinet of bigoted GOP superstars, the people left in fear are expected to take “it’s fine” as a step in the right direction.
The platform for Trump’s savage campaign (Make America Great Again) was rooted is misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and the manipulation of the American working class. As a salesman, he knows that abortion has about 20% more opposition than same-sex marriage amongst his voters. Taking a firm stance against Roe v. Wade and throwing a bone to the LGBTQ population is a tactical way to appease conservatives and win over skeptics. It’s not going to work.
I can only assume one wouldn’t be so foolish, but in case anyone is feeling differently because of this recent media framing, let’s take a stroll down memory lane:
From the beginning, Trump pledged to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama.” This would include abolishing crucial protections for LGBT workers and yes, same-sex marriage. In 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13672, which states that federal contractors cannot be fired on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. In order to “protect religious freedoms,” Trump had expressed support for the First Amendment Defense Act. This piece of legislature would allow businesses, healthcare providers, and landlords to deny LGBT individuals service. In October, soon-to-be-Vice-President Mike Pence claimed these protections under Obama would be rolled back immediately.
If there has been any politician to show utter disdain for LGBTQ Americans, it is Mike Pence. Over the years, he has opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, mentioned in a speech that gay couples beckoned a “societal collapse,” and opposed the right for trans men and women to use the bathroom of their choice (just to name a few). Additionally, Pence wanted to move funding for HIV prevention into facilities that will “change sexual behavior,” including methods of conversion therapy, a popular notion amongst super right-winged Christians. It’s basically shocking a person into being straight. He also has spoken publicly against Planned Parenthood claiming the organization was a contributor to the HIV outbreak (alongside a heap of anti-abortion/anti-woman statements). In his home state, he has created several blocks for women and LGBTQ Indianans to receive proper healthcare.
This is the man leading Donald Trump’s transition team. It doesn’t look good.
We’ve just elected a president who is quick to call Rosie O’Donnell a “disgusting animal,” but only tells his KKK and Neo-Nazi followers to “stop it” when committing hate crimes. He has proven time and time again that he is an unfit leader. The conservative team that he has banded together hasn’t even begun to throw their weight around. We’ve got a long and hard four years ahead. For LGBTQ Americans, immigrants, people of color, and women, it will take more than “it’s fine” in a headline to calm the anxieties that many of us have been living with since he was named the president elect.
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Kat Lloyd is a writer living in Brooklyn where she hosts her podcast, Beat Face Radio. Her work deals with aesthetics, culture, and politics through a campy, feminist lens. Follow her at beatfaceradio.com and on Instagram @beatfaceradio.