Over the past week, I’ve been visited by outrage over the continuing rollback of LGBTQ rights by Trump (#notmypresident) & Co. There were Trump’s obnoxious and factually incorrect tweets about not allowing trans people to serve in military, though the armed forces are not yet reversing their policies. The Justice Department headed by Sessions is arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation. And in a further slap in the face to us Trump appointed Sam Brownback, known for his vociferous anti-LGBTQ views, as his religious ambassador. (In case you’re wondering, the religion that Brownback is representing is Christianity. Like we really need that. Snort.) Texas joins NC in stating that trans individuals who are government employees or attending public school must use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender stated on their birth certificate. (So should you be visiting Texas, make sure you have both proof of citizenship and your birth certificate on hand!)
BUT…I found a glimmer of hope in a very unexpected place: An acquaintance of mine who is a confirmed Trump supporter evinced great disgust at the administration’s positions on LGBTQ rights and Trump’s anti-trans tweets in particular. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he told me this! Of everyone I know, I would have never considered that HE would prove an ally! He said that the violence against LGBTQ individuals that he reads about makes him sick and that we should have the same rights and protections as everyone else. Wow. This coming from a member of Trump’s base is extremely heartening.
I am probably the only queer trans person he knows. But I have been very outspoken about being queer and trans (and progressive and atheist) as part of my one-person consciousness-raising program. One of my doctors told me that he has fears for my safety b/c of this, in fact. Perhaps it’s actually having an effect? I do this b/c I want the people I know to have a face when they hear about LGBTQ issues. That makes it much harder for them to demonize us, imho. If someone they know and like is queer, then perhaps they’ll think twice before endorsing heinous policies regarding us. They’ll remember that these do not only affect nameless strangers but are meant for someone who has helped them with their groceries, paid their bus fare, inquired about their health, etc. So being visible is important to me. The more people see that we are their neighbors, friends, and family members, the more they will realize that we are people and citizens not unlike themselves. This is what I hope.