Trump's new cabinet has created a large share of concerns among members and allies of the LGBTQ community in the past few months.Many of his new cabinet members have not supported the advancement of transgender rights or the legalization of same-sex marriage in their professional history. Donald Trump does not personally hold any antagonism towards the LGBTQ community; yet, he has appointed notable opponents of the LGBTQ movement to various positions in the White House. Here's a rundown by Fresh U on the stances of Trump's cabinet members on LGBTQ issues:
DeVos and her family have a long history of opposing civil rights and many LGBTQ students are concerned about Betsy Devos's position in the White House. She and her husband have donated generous funds to groups that advocate for "conversion therapy." One of these groups is "Focus on the Family," a conservative Christian group that has called the battle against gay rights a "second civil war." Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, noted that, "The DeVos family has a long, well-documented history of funding organizations dedicated to undermining and restricting the rights of LGBTQ people." There is a silver lining: even though her family has donated money to anti-LGBTQ causes, she has never openly campaigned against gay rights. She even called on Dave Agema, a Michigan politician, to step down from the Republican National Convention after he made a critical comment about LGBTQ members.
Mike Pompeo is a Republican congressman from Kansas who will serve as the director of National Intelligence. During his time in Congress, Pompeo supported a bill proposing that the state's definition of marriage should supersede the national definition of marriage. In 2014, Kansas State Collegian interviewed Pompeo about gay rights and he stated that "marriage ought to be between a man and a woman." In addition, he adamantly disagreed with the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling on gay marriage.
Nikki R. Haley, U.N. Ambassador
Haley is Trump's first female appointment to a cabinet-level post and is currently serving her second term as South Carolina's governor. She believes that the Republican Party should be more welcoming to minorities and has campaigned for her party to be more inclusive in the past. She shot down a bill in South Carolina that would require transgender individuals to enter bathrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. However, she was not open to the idea of same-sex marriage in her state, and asserted that marriage should be "between man and a woman."
Stephen K. Bannon, White House Chief Strategist
Bannon was previously the Chairman of the website "Breitbart News," which has been associated with the alt-right movement. In the past, Bannon used offensive slurs against LGBTQ individuals and various minorities. On his radio show, Bannon commented on gay rights and said, "Gay rights have made us dumber, it's time to get back in the closet." He also stated that students who go to women's colleges are a "bunch of dykes."
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff
Priebus is the longest serving chairman of the Republican National Committee and has urged Republicans to be a more inclusive party. However, Priebus has stated in the past that marriage should be between "a man and a woman." He has strongly advocated for traditional marriage and has called on his party in the past to oppose the legalization of gay marriage.
Overall, Trump has put forth a cabinet that may present difficulties for the LGBTQ community in the future and most of his cabinet picks will not openly support the advancement of gay and transgender rights. His picks for the White House are starkly different from Obama's appointees during his time in the White House; Trump's social agenda will probably be a sharp contrast from the previous administration. With his new cabinet, Trump's time in the White House may be harrowing for the LGBTQ movement in America.
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