Judging by recent headlines, President-elect Trump is poised to rollback LGBT rights. "These Are the LGBT Rights that Trump Could Start Reversing," BuzzFeed proclaims in its typical clickbait fashion. "Anti-LGBT groups are absolutely giddy about a Trump presidency," ThinkProgress reports with the logical fallacy of guilt by association. Gays should ignore such scaremongering: A Trump administration will likely be the most welcoming to LGBT people in United States history.
First, on the question of gay marriage, Trump told "60 Minutes" on Sunday that the issue is "settled." Some pundits have pointed out that one candidate on his Supreme Court shortlist, former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, is fervently anti-gay.
But even in the worst-case scenario that Pryor is picked and confirmed as the late Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement, his one vote could not turn the tide on gay marriage. It's unlikely the Supreme Court would accept a challenge case to Obergefell v. Hodges considering how popular gay marriage now is, with 61 percent of Americans approving of the institution.
Transgender rights have made headlines in recent months with the Department of Education's guidance letter instructing public schools to allow students to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender they identify with, rather than the sex they were assigned to at birth. It would not be surprising if the Trump administration reversed this policy and allowed states and localities to make up their own rules about facility use.
However, this should not necessarily be seen as a blow to transgender rights. As I wrote in Rare in August, the federal trans facility rule was ripe for a Title IX lawsuit. Indeed, many states and school districts challenged the policy. Backpedaling this radical change could actually lead to greater acceptance of trans rights, as schools and local communities work out better solutions to accommodate students.
On the contrary, a Trump administration will likely advance the visibility of gay people in public office. Already an openly gay man, Richard Grenell, is rumored to be Trump's pick for ambassador to the United Nations. If true, his appointment would mark the first time in U.S. history that a gay man held a foreign policy cabinet post.
Furthermore, Trump has made a point to embrace the language of LGBT rights on the campaign trail, proclaiming he will do "everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens" at the Republican National Convention to resounding applause. If such rhetoric played so well in a crowd full of conservatives, it surely will with the American people at large.
As a gay libertarian, I am no Trump supporter and I stand firmly for LGBT rights. But the attacks on the president-elect's policies towards gays do not match reality. Instead of focusing on federal policy, where LGBT issues are largely settled, gay rights advocates would do best at warding off attacks on the state and local levels.
Casey Given is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is the executive director of Young Voices. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.