The Trump administration is back at it again with manipulating real issues that affect not only Americans, but LGBTQ folk around the globe. A recent announcement by the administration, entirely reasonable at face value, is nothing more than a political move — a trick to garner respect and support from the media and to erase the history of an administration that has offered next to no benefits for the LGBTQ community.
An announcement in late February from the current administration brought both commotion and praise. The Trump administration declared that it would launch a global effort in eliminating the criminalization of homosexuality in the world. Reported by NBC, 72 countries criminalize homosexuality and eight permit the death penalty for such an offense. This policy has been pushed by President Donald Trump’s U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is the highest-ranking openly gay individual in the administration.
In no way am I objecting to increasing awareness and equality for the LGBTQ community, both in the United States and around the world. I find it barbarous and inhumane that any regime would disregard the basic humanity of any individual and prosecute someone simply for their sexual orientation or gender identity for that matter. What matters are the intentions of this campaign and how it will most likely be used.
I believe the current administration has not a single leg to stand on when it proclaims that it stands for civil rights and international law. NBC reported in April 2018 how Trump’s executive order expanding religious freedom was being used to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. It refers to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which concluded that the executive order carved out broad exemptions for various anti-discrimination laws. This directly affects the LGBTQ community in a very negative way because federal law supersedes state law, which means state anti-discrimination laws can be challenged under the reasoning that it violates their religious freedom. This is just one example of how the administration has negatively affected the LGBTQ community.
Trump’s vice president, in fact, has a track record of being anti-LGBTQ. Before being vice president, Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana. Not only did Pence not support same-sex marriage when he was elected to Congress, but he also signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in the state. This act would allow businesses to deny services to anyone for any reason if by providing that good or service it would substantially burden their religious beliefs. This is nothing more than masked bigotry, designed to allow businesses to discriminate against those who don’t conform to social norms with natural variation in sexuality or gender.
In addition, Trump, on Twitter, simply proclaimed that transgender individuals would be banned from joining the military. If the prior two examples were not clear enough to show his blatant anti-LGBTQ record, I find it hard to say banning transgender individuals from joining the military isn’t transphobic. It is the epitome of generalizations.
These are just a few ways in which the administration has hurt the LGBTQ community. I argue that these facts must not be forgotten when looking at the current actions of the administration. Why should any of us give credit to an administration that is merely using millions of people as political props in Trump’s scheme? I find it insulting that I should give this bigoted administration any mercy when it has shown no mercy for LGBTQ individuals. All of us must remember this at the ballot box in 2020. We must vote for candidates who actually do respect human rights. We must call out the hypocrisy of any elected official who attempts to manipulate us into believing their alternative facts. We deserve better.
Seth Gully is a freshman triple-majoring in economics, French and philosophy, politics and law.