Sarah McBride is the national press secretary at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality. Follow her on Twitter.
“Ask yourself,” Donald Trump implored us just a few days after the tragedy at Pulse. “Who is really the friend to women and the LGBT community?”
His words were always transparently empty, and made that much more hollow when he picked the rabidly anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, as his running mate. The LGBTQ community was never fooled by this notorious con man, knowing that his political promises were as worthless as a degree from Trump University. And, in turn, 78 percent of us voted for Hillary Clinton – a true friend of our community – in November 2016.
More than a year later, we’re a long way from candidate Trump’s opportunist electoral promise to be a friend to LGBTQ people. What once was disingenuously portrayed as holding the potential for a new kind of Republican leadership on LGBTQ rights, has revealed itself to be the ugliest, most explicitly anti-LGBTQ presidency in U.S. history.
Since taking office nine months ago, the Trump-Pence administration has sought to severely limit or outright rescind nearly all of the hard-fought progress on LGBTQ equality we made as a nation over the past decade.
Days after being sworn in as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Trump’s attorney general, the virulently anti-LGBTQ Jeff Sessions, revoked lifesaving guidance promoting the protection and dignity of transgender students. This summer, Trump went even further than anti-equality extremists in Congress when, in a series of erratic tweets, he announced a ban on qualified transgender people serving in the military. And just last week, his Department of Justice (DOJ) staked out a position far outside the legal mainstream -- instructing government attorneys that they should not take action to protect transgender workers from on-the-job discrimination.
Hearing the news that the DOJ would ignore otherwise illegal discrimination against transgender employees and applicants, I immediately thought of the 45-year-old transgender factory worker I met this past summer. Diane had come out a year before in her rural community and, ever since, had been subjected to bullying, taunts, and discrimination at the job she otherwise loved.
“I have to put up a humiliating sign outside of the restroom to notify everyone that I’m in there,” she told me through tears. “No one will even park next to me. I’m totally isolated.” Read more via Cosmopolitan