As President Trump continues his support for LGBTQ protections, White House officials announced on Monday that he will continue to support a 2014 directive barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The directive was put into place by former President Obama and prohibits discrimination against federal employees and its contracted workers.
Despite some reports that President Trump would reverse the order, the White House released a statement in support of the directive. It said “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.” The decision was ultimately President Trump’s and he fully intends to support the continued measures.
Some Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers have opposed the directive, but President Trump has long defied traditional Republican views on issues concerning the LGBTQ community. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump became the first Republican nominee for president to include the LGBTQ community in his address.
Trump expressed his support in a portion of the speech that concerned his pledge to fight terrorism. When referencing the attacks on a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, Trump stated “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me! And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, took to Twitter to criticize the President’s move.
Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar. https://t.co/ZJ4P0I1MwS
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) January 31, 2017
Perhaps the progress made by having the most receptive Republican occupant of the White House for LGBTQ issues is viewed as a step backward for the Human Rights Campaign. For conservative LGBTQ groups across America, the support for Trump’s move is applauded.
I spoke to Peter Boykin, founder of GaysforTrump. It is an organization that has spread a grassroots message of support for President Trump among the LGBTQ community. Boykin said “When Donald Trump actually upholds gay rights and keeps his promises to not change our LGBTQ rights, the Liberal left doesn’t know how to stand down and celebrate.”
Boykin criticized the Human Rights Campaign by arguing that their support for Hillary Clinton is contradictory to their goals. He cited Clinton’s acceptance of donations from countries that have atrocious records on human and LGBTQ rights as proof of that contradiction. Boykin stated “Rights Campaign shouldn’t be endorsing anyone after they let their own mission be clouded just so they could side with the Liberal Democrats. I think what needs to happen is both sides need to work together to promote peace, understanding, and tolerance, so that we can talk to each other once again and exchange ideas without coming to blows with each other. Then we can get people to come around by showing their support for Donald J. Trump.”
Regardless of your sexual orientation, the actions by President Trump to continue these protections should be lauded as progress for the LGBTQ community. Their issues and concerns have captivated the attention of a political party that has long seemed at odds with their viewpoints.