LGBTQ Americans Are Under Siege as Trump Marks a Year in Office

Written by | Lifestyle

Jon Reinish of SKDKnickerbocker

How could we let the first anniversary of the Trump Presidency pass without marking the occasion?

It may feel like an eternity, but as of this Saturday — January 20 — Donald Trump has been occupying the oval office for one full year. As such, it seemed to us like a good time to take stock of the ways in which he and his administration have made life worse for the LGBT community.

A few things came to our mind immediately: the ban on transgender people serving in the military, the taking down of the LGBT page at on the day of the inauguration, the recent dismissal of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

But when we caught up with strategist Jon Reinish of SKDKnickerbocker, he was thinking less of the specifics and more of the big picture ways in which the era of Trump has made America less of a land of LGBTQ liberty and justice for all.“

““In terms of legislative efforts, in terms of executive orders or the ways in which an elected official can detrimentally affect a community,” Reinish explained.There have been a couple of executive orders, but they have been very, very weak.”

He even pondered whether the anti-LGBT sentiments from the administration have come less from the man at the top and more from those around him such as virulently anti-gay Mike Pence. “What happens when you’re a political cipher like Donald Trump, and you get into the White House – or into any important elected position – you don’t come in with an environment of your own,” he suggests. But from those around him, he may have been swept up in a momentum of “anti-LGBT political activity — whether that’s supporting a ballot initiative or crusading against marriage or crusading against employment rights, housing rights, adoption rights, healthcare – across the board. So maybe Donald Trump didn’t come in with an anti-LGBT agenda, but he sure brought people along with him who do.” Fortunately, Reinish also notes, “I think, aside from people like Pence, who are around the President, there’s not really an appetite to go all anti-LGBT in the administration.”

Reinish also pointed out that what we have lost at the hands of the Trump administration come on the heels of great gains. “There’s a reason why I have this headline behind me,” Reinish said, pointing to New York Times front page mounted on the wall behind him. “It’s because in 2011 – and this was still the best campaign I’ve ever worked on – we were able to pass marriage equality in NY. We were able to pass it through a Republican state senate. And that put the issue of marriage on the map in a way that – it was a small, growing movement. New York is a big state. New York is New York. And the reason why I have this headline behind me to talk to you guys today is because marriage started as a trickle and then New York made it a road, and it was a roar heard ‘round the country. After that, it went to ballot initiatives in places like Washington, Maine, Maryland. Then came three momentous Supreme Court cases that solidified it as the law of the land.”

“You never think that you’re entirely safe – and certainly at the local level, it’s always been a different story, especially in rural areas: places in the South, places in the Midwest, etcetera, where there would always be deeply-rooted anti-equality forces and where it was a more hostile environment for the LGBT community to live and work,” explains Reinish. “What Trump has, though, created is an environment in which we have to be extremely vigilant again.

Ultimately, we distilled Reinish’s comments down to these five major points:

  1. Creating a hostile environment
  2. Emboldening hate groups
  3. Ushering in the right wing
  4. Creating fear of losing what we’ve won
  5. Ivanka

Why are these Reinish’s top five? And what’s the one GOOD thing Trump may have done for our community? The answers are all in our exclusive video.

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Last modified: August 22, 2018