At a fundraising dinner for The Center, an LGBTQ community organization, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—the first woman to win the popular vote in an American election—said that the impetus for protecting LGBTQ rights could not be left to the Trump administration.
“I think we have to face the fact that we may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues,” Clinton said. In recent weeks, she has been making more public appearances. Earlier this month, she went to the Women in the World Summit where she had her first public interview since the November 8 election.
At the dinner, Clinton addressed that Trump, who said he would protect queer rights during his campaign, had appointed several notably anti-LGBTQ people into prominent government positions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions immediately reversed course on an Obama-era federal protection for transgender students. The Census Bureau scrapped plans to include questions of gender identity and sexual orientation in the 2020 census. The page for “LGBT rights” disappeared immediately from the White House’s official website after Trump was inaugurated. Trump’s pick for Army Secretary—who will succeed Obama’s openly gay pick Eric Fanning—is Mark Green, who called being transgender a “disease.”
Trump’s actions and choices in personnel strongly contradict his previous claims for being “better” for the queer community than Hillary Clinton who, during her campaign, won the endorsement of several LGBTQ organizations. Clinton pointed out as much, saying that the threat to LGBTQ equality rights ranged from the choice of personnel to the larger legislature.
Clinton also called upon the American government to call out and condemn the persecution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, where reports have emerged that local authorities are rounding up and assaulting them. She noted that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the claims through a spokesperson, saying, “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.”
It does not matter what President Trump said on the campaign trail—what matters are his actions since then. And with the implementation of notably anti-LGBTQ officials, and the actions he has taken legislatively, it is clear that Trump stands against the LGBTQ community. So the impetus to protect LGBTQ rights cannot remain in the responsibility of the Trump administration, but instead fall into the hands of the people.
There are several organizations that exist to protect LGBTQ rights, like the Human Rights Campaign, the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. Donating your time, energy and money to these organizations will only ever help the cause.
But beyond just that, it is important to take an active part in protecting the rights of all minorities—women, people of color, people of different religions—because as Hillary Clinton said in 1995, “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” No minority can achieve equality while other minorities are persecuted. Gay people cannot stand by as transgender people face oppression, or while Muslims are persecuted, or while women’s bodies are argued over. In order to gain equity and equality, we have to fight not only our own individual battles, but the battles of other minorities. None can succeed while any fail.