US: Trump looms large over international LGBTQ political conference

The Victory Institute’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference drew some big names to its stage in D.C. last week. But the person at the center of much of its agenda was absent: President Donald Trump.

“He cannot be trusted,” Rep. Maxine Waters, who served as the keynote speaker at the conference’s opening reception, told NBC News shortly after her speech. “He must be impeached.”

The California Democrat and long-time LGBTQ ally took aim at Trump while speaking before a room of lawmakers and advocates. “Under this president, we’re all at risk and under assault,” she said.  Trump’s failed ban on transgender people in the military and his recent support of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, an Alabama Republican who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women and has frequently spoken out against LGBTQ people, provided plenty of ammo for pro-LGBTQ politicians and public figures at the conference.

The LGBTQ conference’s focus on Trump is contemporaneous with other marginalized groups, such as immigrants and Muslims, who are dealing with an ongoing barrage of incendiary rhetoric and surprise policy changes from the president.

However, amid the fear of LGBTQ rights being rolled back, Parker said she does see a silver lining: More LGBTQ people have been motivated to get involved with politics.

"There are a lot of folks across the country who are disturbed at some of the directions the United States has taken," she said. "LGBTQ candidates, women candidates, candidates of color are stepping up in unprecedented numbers, and we hope to take advantage of that passionate energy and help channel that into winning races." Read more via NBC