The American LGBT community has woken up to a nightmare as the reality of a Donald Trump presidency and a Mike Pence vice-presidency sets in.
As Donald Trump celebrates his nomination to be the 45th president of the United States, LGBT communities are scrambling to insulate and protect themselves against the frightening possibilities.
Trump has taken a hardline approach against queer communities to appeal to his Republican voters. Even worse than the fear of Trump, however, is the concern over his vice president, Mike Pence, who has vocalized some of the worst homophobic ideals to ever be supported by a politician.
Pence has been outspokenly against gay marriage and even tried to put gay couples who applied for a marriage license in jail. He tried to make it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBT employees and voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides vital services to many different demographics. Pence was even against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Bill, a crucial piece of legislature that protects LGBT Americans and other minority groups. He has outright promised to "roll back" LGBT rights under Trump.
Pence has been an open advocate of "conversion therapy," a horrific practice in which gay and trans youth and adults are abused and sometimes even tortured with electro-shock therapy to try to "turn them straight." Conversion therapy has no basis in science or psychology and it causes terrible harm to its victims.
If that wasn't bad enough, Pence wanted to fund conversion therapy by diverting funds away from HIV treatment and prevention initiatives.
LGBT Americans are currently responding to the announcement of Trump and Pence's elevated political status and a Republican majority in the House and Senate with a combination of misery, concern, and a determination to stand up for their rights.
While Pence is just the VP, the possibility of Trump being impeached and leaving Pence in charge of the nation is a very real possibility. With Trump's record of allegedly sexually assaulting women throughout his career and his upcoming child rape court date in December, impeachment could be a very real possibility.
As the weeks approaching this new presidential term go by, allies should do their best to reach out and offer support and assurance to their queer and transgender friends as we approach a time of uncertainty around basic human rights.
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