Get involved

LGBT community must not let up when it comes to the Trump administration

The author is an award-winning commentator in LGBT media and the author of the memoir And Then I Danced.

Donald Trump is president-elect. If that angers or frightens you, don’t get upset, get involved.

What are the signs we in the LGBT community should be looking for? In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Trump said marriage equality is already the law of the land. But how about the Equality Act, so that members of our community are not discriminated against?

What about all those executive orders President Obama signed to give our community what relief he could without the Equality Act? The president-elect promised during his campaign to undo all of Obama’s EOs on the first day. Does he understand that some have value?

Will there be any LGBT appointments to high-level positions in a Trump administration? Or are we to be invisible again in government? And what about the small things like Pride? Will there be an LGBT Pride reception in June at the White House?

The other day I went to pick up my lunch from a place I often visit and where I know the staff well. When I arrived, a staffer said to me: “[After the election], I felt really sad for myself and my family. That’s nothing compared to what your community must feel.” The words just flowed out of my mouth: “Thank you, but we’ve been here before and we know how to fight back if necessary. We were here and fought back during Nixon, Reagan and Bush. We’re stronger now and more organized.”

Which led me to understand why many in our community over 50 years of age look at this a little differently. We remember feeling invisible and helpless. We then organized, and we did it well. And that is the answer: Get involved. If this shock creates one thing, it might very well end the apathy of our community and the realization that our struggle is not simply having cocktail parties and chatting with office holders. It’s doing what this community did well, but no longer does: getting in their faces and not allowing them to forget us.