When it comes to the progress of LGBT rights in the Trump era, the New York Times had a gloomy prediction. "For the foreseeable future," the Times editorial board wrote, "the federal courts are likely to be the only avenue for progress."
Just under 100 days into his presidency, the New York Times charged that the vision of President Trump as a LGBT advocate was a fallacy. The editorial board noted that Trump is surrounding himself with people hostile to the LGBT community and started to rollback federal LGBT protections, especially those protecting transgendered Americans.
But is it time to for the LGBT community to grab the Kleenexes and lament that the next four to eight years is a return to the dark ages? Should the LGBT community ready their closets for a quick return? Not a chance.
The problem with the New York Times editorial, and the LGBT Left, is that they are stuck in a time warp in which marriage equality never happened. To these folks the next Stonewall is around the corner and religious liberty boogeymen are under every bed.
"[T]he nomination of several key officials, who have disparaged the L.G.B.T. community and sought to curtail the rights of its members, has exposed the narrative that Mr. Trump would be a champion of gay and transgender people as a fallacy," the editorial argued. The conclusion? If you ever opposed LGBT rights, you have nothing to bring to the table.
Imagine if the Democrats had held such an attitude with Sen. Robert Byrd? Or better yet, Hillary Clinton, whose road to Damascus conversion to the LGBT rights issues appears to be one of a forced political reality than a collaborative kinship?
Frankly, who cares if Trump nominated an individual who opposed LGBT rights? Just as liberals decried conservative litmus tests on abortion, they should also decry liberal litmus tests on LGBT rights. The only issue is whether the person nominated is qualified.
The New York Times also argues that the Trump rollbacks on federal LGBT protections are a troublesome sign. The rollbacks cited are a Department of Health and Human Services questionnaire and a Census survey that does not include sexual orientation. Pushing aside the fact that the Obama administration did not use sexual orientation in the Census, how can we say with a straight face that such examples are troubling when LGBT Chechens are sitting in concentration camps?
The last leg of the New York Times' three-legged stool is the transgendered community, which the editorial board argued is vulnerable under Trump. The decision to remove federal guidelines for transgender students was just one example. The New York Times has a point, but it is not the point they were trying to make.
In a post-marriage equality nation, the game has changed. Despite the fearmongering and lamenting, marriage equality is here to stay. There is no evidence of a rollback and even Trump has accepted the Supreme Court's historic ruling.
But in a post-marriage equality nation, we see that the issue of transgender rights are not the same as gay rights. As I wrote last year, "the gay community needs to file for divorce with the trans community" because "they are no longer working toward the same goals." Loving the same gender is different from wanting to be a different gender, and the policy implications prove such a point.
The LGBT pledge of Trump — the man who held a rainbow flag, was ahead of the curve in admitting a gay couple to Mar-A-Lago, and recognized the protection of LGBT Americans in Cleveland — is not a fallacy. Rather, it is symbolic of the fact that how we address LGBT rights has changed in a post-marriage equality America and the alliances that existed before might not exist in the future.
Joseph Murray (@realJoeMurray) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, he was a campaign official for Pat Buchanan. He is the author of "Odd Man Out" and is administrator of the LGBTrump Facebook page.
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