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Donald Trump is no advocate of LGBT rights

After eight years of progress under Barack Obama, the Trump Administration seems anything but hopeful for LGBT people

LGBT trump obama

"As the country says farewell to another president, the LGBT community says farewell to a major advocate." Illustration published Monday Jan. 23, 2017

We may think that social issues will get progressively better over time, but what happens when years of legal progress simply comes to a complete and sudden halt? That might have just happened with LGBT+ rights, and every ASU student across the gender identity and sexuality spectrum should be worried. 

This week Donald Trump succeeded Barack Obama as President of the United States. Regardless of whether you say he’s #NotMyPresident, he’s the one calling the shots now.

There has been a lot of discussion about the stark contrasts between Trump and Obama, of which there are countless in the domestic, foreign, personal sphere and crowd size.

But there is one large difference between the two men that hasn’t received nearly as much notice—their stance on the rights of LGBT people.

While Barack Obama was noted for his unprecedented work for the equal rights of LGBT people, Trump has never been such an advocate. Many of the top officials he has chosen for his administration, especially Vice President Mike Pence, are extremely antagonistic towards LGBT rights.

Trump may be the most LGBT-friendly Republican president we’ve ever had, but he is anything but an advocate.

Although the Clinton administration made inroads, the Obama Administration was the first presidential administration to make LGBT rights a priority. 

Under President Obama’s watch, gay, lesbian and bisexual, and eventually transgender people were made eligible to serve openly in the military. Gender identity and sexual orientation were added to federal hate crime laws, and his administration stopped defending the federal ban on same-sex marriage, leading the path for the supreme court to eventually legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

Now where does President Trump stand on LGBT rights? If you don’t know, it may because he doesn’t emphasize it nearly as much as past Republican presidents.

After he was elected, Trump said he was “fine” with legalization of same-sex marriage, claiming that his personal position on the matter was “irrelevant.” His personal opinion seems to be consistent, that he believes in “traditional marriage.”

Nonetheless, Trump is likely the most pro-LGBT Republican presidential candidate ever, and that must count for something right? He even became the first Republican nominee to address the community in a convention speech.

"I'm confident that Donald Trump will do all that he can to protect the rights of all Americans, including those who are part of the LGBT community,” Kevin Calabrese, President of the ASU College Republicans, said. “I think it will remain pretty consistent with how it has been under the Obama Administration.”

Not everyone agrees, including ASU Young Democrats leader Zak Ghali, who said he is “not optimistic” about LGBTQ rights under a Trump administration.

“None of the stuff on the campaign trail really pointed to an expansion of LGBTQ rights,” Ghali said.

I don’t really know what Trump personally believes about LGBT rights. He’s at times even shown hints of support. It doesn’t strike me as something he thinks about very much. But what he thinks really doesn’t matter— it’s what he does.

Coming into office he has a spot on the Supreme Court that once belonged to Antonin Scalia open to filling. His list of potential justices is very anti-LGBT, and the people in his cabinet from Pence, to Betsy DeVos, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Ben Carson, among others, are almost unapologetically anti-LGBT.

Donald Trump may not seek to avidly destroy every single progress made in LGBT rights in the US over the last few years, but he definitely isn’t an advocate. 

There is great chance that he will submit to the more anti-LGBT people of his administration. This is troublesome for both the LGBT community nationwide and on the ASU campus, as well as all others who strive for a system of equal protection under the law.

Reach the columnist at or follow @Marinodavidjr on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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