Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jeff Guo and Trump's "embrace" of gay rights

Donald Trump
Wednesday at the Washington Post Jeff Guo writes: “How Donald Trump is teaching Republicans a way to embrace gay rights. Were that true—and it is not—Trump would have to have some willing pupils. He does not. The extreme anti-gay platform expresses the consensus of the Republican Party. Guo goes on the write:
It would be a stretch to call Trump a gay-friendly candidate — he still opposes same-sex marriage — but he supports other LGBT rights, and has publicly declared himself a “real friend” to the community. In April, he broke with his GOP rivals by coming out against North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law. (He later backed off.) And last month in Cleveland, Trump brought in Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who became the first openly gay speaker to affirm his sexual orientation onstage at a Republican National Convention.
Yes, Trump does oppose marriage equality and he has pledged to nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse Obergefell v. Hodges. Exactly why he would do so remains unknown. He opposed marriage equality before he was a candidate. Now, as a matter of public policy, I suspect that his opposition is based on the desired support of Christian conservatives. Furthermore, Trump never came out against North Carolina's HB2. He said that, at Trump Tower, Caitlyn Jenner could use the bathroom of her choice. He did not just “back off” his supposed opposition, he has provided full and unequivocal support for North Carolina's HB2.

Just once I would like to see the mainstream media—even the reasonably progressive Washington Post—describe the North Carolina law in terms of preemption and the effect on the entire LGBT community. Municipal nondiscrimination ordinances were nullified. The media seem obsessed with bathrooms. Trans access is very important. They represent about 0.3% of the population. HB2 affects 5% of the population.

As for Mr. Thiel, he was the third, not the first, openly gay speaker to address the Republican National Convention. Furthermore, Mr. Thiel is a gay man who doesn't seem to like gay people very much. Thiel's GoProud did not have an agenda to advance gay rights. It existed to embarrassingly prove that there are gay conservatives. Thiel's presence at the convention was part of Trump's cynical calculus of electoral support. It proves nothing regarding Trump's intended domestic policies.

When given the opportunity Trump has fallen back on “states' rights which is code for: “Let the Bible Belt Christians do whatever the fuck they want to do to LGBT citizens.” Mr. Guo continues:
Many have commented on Trump’s reluctance to engage with the concerns of social conservatives. He'd rather talk about immigrants or terrorism than Planned Parenthood or gay marriage, in part because he has a record of permissive views on abortion and gay rights. Though he has tried to walk back some of his statements recently, his liberal reputation on social issues endures. Many thought it would prove a fatal weakness with the evangelical wing of the GOP. Yet, when his rivals tried to attack this flank during primary season, none of their arguments seemed to stick.
Trump met privately with about a thousand evangelical pastors and leaders. We know that he promised repeal of the Johnson Amendment and we know that James Dobson's takeaway was that Trump found Jesus. What else did he promise the pastors? Moreover, Trump's personal views (whatever they really are—we do not know) are far less relevant than his prospective Supreme Court picks. A few more Scalias could, and likely would, reverse hard fought gains since Lawrence v. Texas.

And by the way, Trump is set to meet some 700 evangelical pastors tomorrow at a gathering in Florida hosted by the American Renewal Project. That would be David Lane's dominionist operation that is profoundly anti-gay.

Some interpret Trump’s success as a sign that the traditional culture wars have reached their conclusion. On LGBT issues, at least, it seems the end may really be in sight. In recent months, Trump has essentially been offering a blueprint for how the GOP could eventually woo gay Americans — which is useful, because a startling new poll shows that Republicans may have to adapt much faster than they thought.
I have a suggestion for Mr. Guo. If he has an office at WaPo then he should walk down the hall and book an hour of Jonathan Capehart's time. Seriously. The GOP's desire to woo LGBT citizens is comparable to its desire to woo American Muslims or Hispanics. Yet there is some hope for Guo. Later on:
At the state level, meanwhile, the culture wars have never been more raucous. Recent legislative fights over religious freedom, the rights of Christian bakeries, and transgender people in public bathrooms have created the impression that hot-button social issues still command the political discourse around the nation. LGBT activists characterize these trends in state lawmaking as part of the conservative backlash to the Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage.
“Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she supports immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country and who suppress women, gays, and anyone else who doesn’t share their views or values,” [Trump] said in June.

This argument should have been recognizable to anyone familiar with the politics in Europe, where far-right nationalist parties have tried to find common ground with LGBT people by portraying Muslim immigrants as intolerant and homophobic. Last year in Sweden for instance, a populist extremist party with ties to neo-Nazis organized a gay pride march through a Muslim neighborhood in Stockholm to protest the country's "Islamization."
Is that how Trump is teaching the GOP to embrace gay rights? Are there two people at the Post named Jeff Guo? LGBT people, by the way, are generally opposed to any form of discrimination including Islam bashing. We always know that we could be next.

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