by WorldTribune Staff, June 19, 2016
Gays are finding, as other minority groups have in the past, that stepping off the Democratic plantation not only invites extreme criticism but can be downright dangerous.
Several gay men told NBC OUT they have been harassed and even physically attacked for supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid.
Juan Hernandez was the victim of physical violence by Trump opponents at a rally in San Jose, California. Images of the attack and his bloodied clothes went viral.
“This is politics. Debate is OK,” Hernandez said. “When you start getting violent and throwing out derogatory terms, that’s not OK.”
In the aftermath of the attack by an Islamic terrorist on the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Trump voiced his support for the LGBTQ community and many in the community followed by expressing their support for the Republican candidate.
“He’s the most pro-gay nominee that the party has ever had for president,” said Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization for LGBTQ people and straight allies who support the GOP.
“Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT Community,” Trump said, calling the massacre “an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want, and express their identity.”
Trump followed with a tweet critical of Hillary Clinton: “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
Hernandez, who told NBC OUT he threw his support behind Trump after realizing his views outside of LGBTQ issues were more conservative, said he was a target even before the rally in San Jose. Other members of the LGBTQ and Latino communities, he said, have singled him out for his Trump support. “They’ll email me or send me messages. They say that I’m a sellout.”
Eric, a 25-year-old gay Marine Corps veteran said the dangers he believes “radical Islam” poses to the gay community has reinforced his support for Trump.
“Donald Trump has taken charge,” he said.” I’m gonna go for his stance on immigration and rebuilding the military.”
Eric did not provide his last name out of fear of retribution from the left, including what he called “doxxing,” the malicious publication of a private citizen’s personal information online.
“When you put your name out on a national level as supporting someone who attracts that much vitriol and disgust, you’re putting yourself up for doxxing … Especially for someone like me who’s considered a ‘traitor,’ ” said Eric, who is a member of the online network LGBTrump.
Eric went on to say that he doubted Trump t-shirts and “Make America Great Again” hats would be visible at LGBTQ Pride events this year.
“It’s easy to come out of the closet,” he said. “It’s dangerous to come out as a Trump supporter.”
In 2000, when he flirted with a presidential run as a Reform Party candidate, Trump gave an interview with the Advocate where he discussed his views on gay issues.
Q: Why should gays and lesbians be interested in you as a presidential candidate?
Trump: I grew up in New York City, a town with different races, religions, and peoples. It breeds tolerance. In all truth, I don’t care whether or not a person is gay. I judge people based on their capability, honesty, and merit. Being in the entertainment business — that is, owning casinos and … several large beauty pageants — I’ve worked with many gay people. I have met some tough, talented, capable, terrific people. Their lifestyle is of no interest to me.
Q: Would we see gay people in a Trump administration?
Trump: I would want the best and brightest. Sexual orientation would be meaningless. I’m looking for brains and experience. If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them. One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government. I’d want to change that.
Q: What would you do to combat antigay prejudice?
Trump: I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. We don’t need to rewrite the laws currently on the books, although I do think we need to address hate-crimes legislation. But amending the Civil Rights Act would grant the same protection to gay people that we give to other Americans — it’s only fair.