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HEAD: American politics and the LGBTQ community

American presidents have not been exactly on side with America’s LGBTQ citizens.

As a matter of fact, Barack Obama was the first leader in that country to throw his hat into the ring and make equal rights a priority for all Americans.

As a matter of fact, Barack Obama was the first leader in that country to throw his hat into the ring and make equal rights a priority for all Americans.

He even went so far as to announce full support for LGBTQ people all over the world. This idea was definitely not part of his predecessors’ agenda. No American president had ever been so vocal, showing genuine concern for this section of society. Whenever the opportunity arose he would publicly call for equality and this much to the dismay of the Republican Party whose members have consistently voted against any equality for members of the LGBTQ community.

Enter Donald Trump, the loud mouth, hateful, bullying, transphobic, homophobic, mean-spirited, Islamophobe and someone who disrespects women, among many other shortcomings, who became the 45th president. In his role as one of the most powerful men in this world, Trump has the distinction of being one of the most discriminatory world leaders, along with Vladimir Putin of Russia (his great friend) and a few others who like to govern as dictators.

Recently, Donald Trump rejected a call for equal rights for transgender citizens and he does not condone same-sex marriage and other rights – which may well be thrown to the wind. America’s LGBTQ citizens, among many other minorities, will soon experience a drastic change and so equal rights for all in the U.S. will take a drastic step backwards. The United States has always insisted it is the most welcoming, accepting and socially advanced nation in the world. Recent events tell us otherwise and this is a situation that may have international implications as the Trump White House and the Republican Party will be viewed as rulers against human rights.

America has been a dominant force around the globe militarily, attempting to force its social agenda, which mostly consists of right-wing conservatism, on nations around the world. Obama had a vision of unity for all, but was overshadowed by the Republican majority. His unwavering attitude for social change for equality for all is now undermined by a Republican dictatorial figure heading a nation that, as our immediate neighbour, will have a negative influence on Canadian values of equality. Trump’s infatuation with President Putin will eventually show us that these two men have the ability to take us back to times when people were totally at the mercy of dictators. The strength of these two nations is formidable, making us sit back and come to terms with reality.

Those who are blinded by the success of Donald Trump will come to know that power can be a ruthless tool able to set back the clock for years. We are fortunate in Canada with a prime minister who respects diversity of our citizens.

That is not to say that we are in the clear, but we do have opportunities with the Trudeau government that are sadly and dangerously lacking with a Trump government.


Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.

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