During the 2020 election, Trump nearly doubled his support within the LGBTQ+ community and is still touted as the most “pro-gay” president by many Republicans. Additionally, in 2019, the Log Cabin Republicans organization — which purports to “work to make the Republican Party more inclusive, particularly on LGBT issues,” by “working from inside the party” — even rushed to endorse the then-incumbent President Donald Trump, a complete reversal of their decision to withhold that endorsement in 2016.
The two reasons — yes, only two — given in a Washington Post op-ed detailing the endorsement were Donald Trump’s announcement of his intent to work towards curing HIV/AIDS by 2030 and Trump’s choice to appoint Richard Grenell, who is gay, as the US Ambassador to Germany.
Trump’s so-called commitment to end HIV/AIDS, however, came after years of Trump’s administration decimating the progress made by former presidents of both parties toward HIV prevention. Trump’s administration implemented policies regarding Medicare Part D that effectively restricted access to medicines that are essential for those who are living with HIV. Trump also ended necessary HIV research simply because extremists and anti-abortion activists within the GOP asked him to. Thus, many members of the LGBTQ+ community rightly looked upon Trump’s so-called “commitment” with disdain.
Ambassador Grinnell’sappointment was at least one silver lining in what was otherwise the least diverse presidential cabinet in recent history, but I dare say, a completely insignificant one.
It is no wonder that the Log Cabin Republicans’ endorsement of Donald Trump caused a significant degree of division amongst the Log Cabin Republicans’ state branches and individual members.
Trump’s progress is a falsehood
As a proud gay man and ex-Republican, I struggle to think of one legitimately LGBTQ+-friendly policy made during Trump’s tenure in the White House. Log Cabin Republicans must learn to look closely at these issues and protect our right to exist in a safe and accepting society with equal rights, privileges and protections before the law. Some of those who say that they support the United States’ LGBTQ+ community do, in fact, create environments that are not safe for our existence.
In other words, we must resist the GOP’s attempts at wooing the LGBTQ+ community with token appointments (such as Grinnell’s) and lip service. As I wrote in a previous article about the nature of populism in Latin America,
Populism, by its very nature, is a movement that places power in the hands of individuals with little in the way of experience, education, and qualifications. With these individuals often come the various biases and fallacies common among those without access to opportunities for exposure to diverse characters and viewpoints … Populists stay in power by manipulating or weaponizing the biases of a segment of the population — forging those biases into an aggressive, hyper-exclusive, ethnoreligious concept of nationalism. The populist authoritarian cycles through conceptions of the “other” to rile his base into a frenzy, justifying his continued rule by way of fearmongering, and discarding each “other” as it loses its ability to evoke panic or rage.
I followed this by stating that populism “[leaves] scars on the political community [that outlast] generations by leaving behind fragmented polities characterized by factional distrust.”
These words are as true in the United States today as they were about Latin America then. Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric has attracted the most discriminatory elements of the United States’ political community. The GOP’s infestation with these ignoramuses has caused it to embrace bigotry, thereby compromising upon its former claim to moral leadership. It is unbelievably foolish of the Log Cabin Republican community to believe that the zealots who are attracted to ex-President Trump’s rhetoric of hate and exclusion regarding women, immigrants, transgender persons, those of Muslim faith and those with disabilities will suddenly become more accepting when it comes to issues of sexual orientation. Do LGBTQ+ members of the GOP sincerely believe that Trump’s xenophobic sycophants are waking up in the morning and saying, “I hate everyone who doesn’t look, sound, or act like me, except when it comes to gay, lesbian, or bisexual folks — that community, I’m alright with”?
Violence is on the Rise
Believing that Donald Trump is pro-LGBTQ+ is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Donald Trump’s rhetoric is the reason that we’ve seen an influx of so-called “parents’ rights” groups that are intent on attacking the LGBTQ+ community. These groups have adopted hateful policies such as advocating for the disciplining of teachers who display any LGBTQ+ Pride materials in their classroom and banning books from school libraries, which so much as mention the existence of LGBTQ+ people.
The goal of these organizations is to shame members of the LGBTQ+ community while enforcing standards of heteronormativity and forcing gay folk to once again live as outcasts. These policies have earned some “parents’ rights” groups a place on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watch list of extremist hate groups. The re-invigorated attack on the LGBTQ+ community is a significant part of what drove me, personally, from the GOP.
Donald Trump’s populism and the deplorables that he attracted to the Republican Party are the reason that support for gay marriage within the GOP has continued to decline. As a recent Gallup survey reported, support for gay marriage has dropped from 56% in 2022 to 41%. This is the lowest value at which this metric has been measured since 2014 before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing homosexual marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. This same Trumpian populism is the reason that threats against the LGBTQ+ community continue to rise. It seems that Trump’s acolytes are intent on manifesting their homophobia through harassment and even acts of violence.
Republicans need to take action
If anyone needs to seek any more evidence of the danger that Donald Trump poses to LGBTQ Americans, one need look no further than a recent new item: Project 2025’s recent publication of its “Mandate for Leadership.” Project 2025 is an organization run by two former Trump Administration staffers. It is known to be associated with several far-right hate groups, an association which it proudly advertises on the Advisory Board page of its website. The “Mandate for Leadership” is a platform mapping out the policy prerogatives that are expected to be prioritized by an incoming Republican president – which the organization expects and hopes to be Donald Trump. It is a guidebook for the expansion and institutionalization of the authoritarian right as well as the further oppression of the LGBTQ+ community.
The “Mandate” calls for a repeal of most anti-discrimination protections and all laws that pursue equity for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It also advocates replacing these policies with “those encouraging marriage, work, motherhood, fatherhood, and nuclear families.” This is paired with several other anti-LGBTQ+ policies, such as re-instating the ban on transgender persons serving in the armed forces and advocating for ludicrous and outdated policies regarding homosexual parentage.
Project 2025 openly boasts that previous iterations of its “Mandate” have significantly influenced President Trump, so it is impossible to tell which of these policies a newly elected President Trump will attempt to adopt and which he’ll succeed in implementing.
A second term for ex-President Trump will spell doomsday for this nation’s LGBTQ+ community. The Log Cabin Republicans need to stop spreading the dangerous lie that Donald Trump is — or ever was — pro-LGBTQ+, or they will be complicit in bringing about that doom. History will never forgive them for that crime.
[Lane Gibson edited this piece.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Support Fair Observer
We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.
For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.
In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.
We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs
on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This
doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.
Will you support FO’s journalism?
We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.