What Trump’s administration could mean for the LGBTQ community
After Donald Trump won the presidential election, Dani Alvarez admitted to feeling fear stepping out of the house in clothes that would be stereotypically be considered feminine.
Alvarez, a biology major, identifies as gender nonconforming and while sometimes they dress more masculine, there are times that they prefer to dress more feminine by wearing heels and makeup out in public.
Alvarez says they experience more harassment in public when they dress feminine, something that they think will become more common under Trump’s administration.
“The first time after the election that I walked out in heels I was scared of being harassed,” Alvarez said. “My mom asked me to stop dressing like this, but I refuse to live in fear and continue to hide who I am.”
Alvarez believes the LGBTQ community has always been at risk of facing harassment and discrimination, but Trump’s administration makes the community a bigger target.
While Trump doesn’t go into office until Jan. 20, 2017, many people on social media have already reported being victims of discrimination or hate crimes from Trump supporters after showing affection with someone of the same gender in public.
“Just because we live in a city like San Francisco, it doesn’t erase the queerphobia and transphobia from existing in the city,” Alvarez said.
Students also feel that Trump’s failure to publicly discourage violent acts of discrimination encourages his supporters to continue treating LGBTQ people unfairly.
“We’re already seeing a domino effect and we’re going to go backward,” said Johnetta Kollie, a communications major. “I think this will discourage others to come out as gay in fear of facing discrimination.”
Mary Galabay, a communications major, agrees that LGBTQ people will face more bullying if Trump’s administration chooses to take an opposing stance on issues that affect the LGBTQ community.
“Donald Trump probably won’t speak out against all the bullying that people are already facing,” Galabay said. “And if he makes an effort to change laws, like the one on marriage equality, it will just give people more reasons to be anti-gay.”
In a “60 Minutes” interview given after his election, Trump addressed speculation that he would attempt to overturn marriage equality by saying he was “fine” with the Supreme Court’s decision, seeing the issue as “settled.”
Back in April of this year, Trump told the Today Show that he thought transgender people should be able to use the restroom they felt more comfortable with.
“He’s said a lot of things during his campaign and since he’s won the election he’s back peddled on a lot of things,” said Director of the Center of Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality Colleen Hoff. “But he’s more supportive of LGBTQ issues and people than people like Pence.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence has not only opposed marriage equality but also supported legislation that targets LGBTQ people.
As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives individuals and businesses a legal defense if they refuse to serve LGBTQ customers if they believe it interferes with their right to exercise their religion.
Pence has also been criticized for supporting gay conversion therapy, which attempts to use a series of psychological treatments or counseling to convert gay, lesbian or bisexual people to be heterosexual.
Kollie sees Trump’s appointment of an anti-gay official in his cabinet as a more truthful indication of his stance on LGBTQ issues.
“Your peers represent who you are, and by looking at who he’s choosing to elect to his cabinet, we can tell who Trump really is,” Kollie said.
Hoff thinks that this new conservative administration might halt progress that the LGBTQ community has made under President Obama’s administration.
“I think there’s a fear that everything will become a little bit more conservative,” Hoff said. “We will continue to see hate and intolerance towards anything that isn’t White and heteronormative.”
Hoff believes the most important way for people to continue to be allies of the LGBTQ community is to recognize that their rights could be threatened under Trump’s administration.
“The number one thing others can do is listen,” Hoff said. “Make sure people are heard and acknowledged for the real threats that they’re facing.”
Alvarez believes that allies could be more active when trying to help the LGBTQ community. They believe it’s more than just pledging support, but also about confronting harassment head on.
“If you’re straight, offer your body not just your voice,” said Alvarez. “If you hear someone misgender or harass someone, then stand up for them.”
While Alvarez fears for that the LGBTQ youth might be more intimidated and affected by growing up under Trump’s administration, they are prepared to speak out and confront injustices.
While refusing to give political opinions, Director of the Queer and Trans Resource Center Rumaldo Godinez said that the QTRC recognizes the importance of being supportive of people who feel scared or distressed by Trump’s election.
The QTRC plans to hold de-stressing sessions for people who are overwhelmed with the results of the election along with the pressures from exams during finals week.
“One of the things I continuously tell myself is that my existence is resistance and I will forever thrive in a world that tries to erase me,” Alvarez said.