Thursday, November 10, 2016

Make America Straight Again!

There has been a whirlwind of emotions swirling around our heads and hearts since the shock of Tuesday's election hit us like a sledgehammer to the temple. Many fears and concerns have arisen since Trump wrapped his meaty little hands around the title of President Elect, including the fears of his purported wall, the ban on Muslims, immigrants, and refugees, degradation of the Black Lives Matter movement, and of course, his promise to repeal Marriage Equality. Hand and hand with his VP Mike Pence, the GOP elected candidates have sworn to work together to set the human rights clocks back 75 years.

While I am terrified at all of these prospects, I know there are pitfalls, legislative loops, protests, and filibusters that can stop many of Trump's proposed bills from being passed, in spite of the Republican control of Congress. However there are issues beyond the power of Congress that are in far more danger than the promises Trump will eventually break.

In June of 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States voted for Marriage Equality, securing equal rights to homosexuals throughout the nation and barring any future president, Senate, or House of Representatives from overturning the ruling. Only SCOTUS can undo their own decisions, and we felt secure under the steely protection of the highest court in the land. What we hadn't anticipated that when SC justice Antonin Scalia died, Congress would not permit Obama to nominate a replacement, which is the right of the sitting president. They reserved the right of the nomination to the future president, confident that the GOP would manage to regain control of the presidency. Now that Trump has taken the crown, he has presented a long list of conservative justices that he will nominate for the job. And all he needs is a Republican dominated Congress to get his nomination elected, which he now has.

Now Scalia was a conservative, but as the court had a liberal majority at the time, replacing a conservative with a conservative was not an immediate threat. Unfortunately many of the justices are elderly: Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 83, Anthony Kennedy is 80, and Steven Breyer is 78. Both Bader Ginsberg and Breyer are liberal, whereas Kennedy is a balanced Republican who maintains an objective approach to most issues. As time marches on for these justices, rumors and reports of retirement are looming in the air, along with legitimate concerns for eventual passing-ons given their chronological progression in life. The loss of these justices during the Trump Administration will undoubtedly secure a 6-3 or a 7-2 (god forbid an 8-1) court imbalance tipping the scales of justice in favor of the conservatives. This, of course, is just the first step in a lengthy process that could eventually endanger the Marriage Equality ruling, but all Trump really needs is one more justice to retire or die to accomplish the platform he and VP Pence have promised to the country.

From the get-go, Trump had been utilizing his platform to speak out against all laws passed that have permitted the LGBT community to progress to some semblance of normalcy in a heterosexist and heterocentric society. This includes the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, DOMA, Marriage Equality, and many other laws and bills that guaranteed protection against job discrimination and hate crimes. Trump and Pence argued that these laws infringe upon the rights of Americans to practice their own religions without fear of persecution. They have vowed to force transgendered individuals to use their "biologically appropriate bathrooms" or their birth-gender bathrooms, and have backed laws that would permit discrimination based on religious beliefs. Pence himself has vetoed and amended laws against generalized hate crimes because they included language that protected LGBTs in the past. In a move more frightening, Pence cut funding to an HIV treatment facility, arguing that federal dollars should not be given to "organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that spread the HIV virus", and stated more money should be spent on treatment to assist individuals "seeking to change their sexual behaviors."

So let's dissect that last statement for a moment, because some may argue it can be interpreted in many ways. Changing sexual behaviors could have met that people could change their behaviors by practicing safe sex, or getting tested for HIV before engaging in sexual relationships, or consulting with their doctor about leading a healthy and safe sex life with an uninfected partner. But that tiny line preceding this statements sets it pretty clear for us, because no HIV treatment organization "celebrates" behaviors of unprotected sex, sharing needles, refusing to get yourself tested, or screwing your partner without any precautions or cares about infecting them. Not one. So we can only assume these behaviors are really referring to gays, and teaching them how not to be gay in order to avoid HIV (because straight people can't carry this disease). So essentially, Pence was refusing to help HIV inflected individuals unless they were willing to undergo treatment to stop gay behaviors, aka Conversion Therapy.

Conversion Therapy is, at its core, treatment to reprogram the homosexual brain to either suppress its natural urges toward the same sex, or to even teach the brain a sexual appreciation for the opposite sex. Historically, this has been attempted in many ways, including chemical castration, physical castration, electro-shock aversion therapy, medicinally induced aversion that made patients physically ill when having a biological response to sexual stimuli (think A Clockwork Orange), and other forms of physical abuse. Conversion Therapy has been denounced by the American Psychiatric Association and is banned in five states in America, but never fear, because our Vice President has argued for these interventions in the past and withheld HIV treatment from people who refused to get themselves "fixed."

So here's the main concern: after years of fighting for equality, our next President has vowed to repeal every single act that has affirmed our position as human beings in this nation allegedly built on equality. The Vice President is essentially a proponent of violent and aggressive therapies to cure the gay out of America. Once the conservatives dominate SCOTUS, only a few more steps need to be taken to ensure we're never equal again. First someone must bring a lawsuit against the state arguing that their religious beliefs have been infringed upon by allowing some flaming queen in San Francisco to get married. Because this is Post-Trump America, they will not have to prove much. Once this lawsuit gradually gets elevated to the Supreme Court, the court has to decide whether or not they will hear the case. Given that they owe their careers to this extremely anti-gay administration, I doubt they will refuse. At this point, they will vote, and gay marriage will be no more.

This is of course a lengthy process which could take years, but if Trump is able to deliver a conservative ruled Supreme Court, he doesn't have to be president if and when a new lawsuit finally gets to SCOTUS, Until another justice retires or dies and the next president is able to elect a liberal, we're in trouble, and I believe that while this will be difficult to achieve, it is by no means impossible. With an administration that is so geared toward and amped up on hatred, bigotry, homophobia, heterosexism, and just plain ignorance, I am scared for myself and my fellow gaybugs and butterflies (that's LGBs and Trans, respectively).

And this America, is why the Rainbow movement is terrified today.

Trump supporting the LGBT community just days before the election 
because he realized he needed us.

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