As a straight, cis, white girl I'm indebted to the LGBTQIA community for my ability to continue Anti-AOL when it was just starting out, and when I didn't always know what to do with it or myself, if only because some members would drop in during my lowest moments and bolster my strength and my belief that I could do it. For that, I never thanked them properly or enough.
I don't know why they came to my blog when they did: I had no visible political or other affiliations that would attract them to my cause, discussed nothing related to theirs, and on my personal blog was quite open and public about being a girly girl (I have quirks - like how I write, not to mention how I think and how I can see the world - that make me believe I'm more androgyne than traditionally femme, but hey, that's another story, and it doesn't really matter, as I don't know if it attracted the LGBTQIA crowd to my blog, or not).
But because they came to me in numbers here and there over the years and lent me their support (emails, comments, linkbacks, information, online friendships) and were there for me in a way that, to this day, most straight people are not, my gratitude was total. I don't forget kindness, and they took the time to show it to me even at my lowest points, often when absolutely no one else would.
So, though I have no offline LGBTQIA friendships, thanks to a mostly sheltered life, and though I'm not one to bring up LGBTQIA issues very often, I have no reason not to, and often feel like I can and should do more. In the meantime, I'd like everyone to know that I will stand by the LGBTQIA community, that I consider all of you my friends and compatriots in every battle for justice and equality, and that because I believe women's rights are human rights, I don't think of what I go through as a woman without also thinking of every one of you who go through all of what we do and so much more.
In that spirit, I'd like to present a few things that have been bothering me - and am hoping I can stay more up to date in the future on sharing what's going on in the fight for LGBTQIA and women's rights.
Firstly, in the spirit of putting someone in charge of an agency who is known to hate it, and who wants to dismantle it - such as DeathStar Bannon (administrative state deconstructionist), Suer Polluter Pruitt (EPA disassembler) and Gun For Grizzly DeVos (public education destroyer) - now we have Bethany Kozma, an "anti-transgender activist" (gender equality gutter). I know nothing about her except her official title: "senior adviser for women's empowerment". My ass.
Anyone not empowering LGBTQIA is not empowering women. Period. I could go on about how fluid gender and sexual orientation are, not just for some but many of us, how dumb it is to make assumptions based on birth gender, current or desired appearance, admonitions in the Bible or from parents, teachers or communities, and the state-directed propaganda that is the purulence of Trump and his base, but I get why not being a scaredycat phobic bigot is in humanity's best interest, and I'm just preaching to the choir.
This regime does all it can to feed its ignorant base, as they have no quarter anywhere else, while the majority of us watch horrified as they undo the very tenets of treating each other with respect and kindness.
In the run-up to Trump's latest base-baiting, a GOP Congresswoman named Vicky Hartzler, "[f]resh off a committee hearing where she introduced (and withdrew) an amendment banning transgender people from serving in the military", was quoted as saying: "At a time when we should be focusing on the threats from North Korea, and Putin, and ISIS, we’re having to deal with a threat here at home — a domestic threat — of allowing transgenders [sic] in our service [...]".
As though filing and withdrawing her hate bill and spouting this horseshit was not enough, a month later Trump picked up where she left off by barring transgender from the military. Though he phrased his twit (yes, he actually tweeted an order) as though the ban went into effect immediately just because he'd twitted it, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (after Trump claimed he'd already consulted with them) denied having any knowledge of it. Then the military announced transgender individuals can still serve - at least for now - as they refuse to discharge anyone without an actual policy in place.
On the same day Trump issued his ban, the Justice Department, without invitation, jumped in on a private lawsuit to argue employers are allowed to fire people for being gay - threatening rights assumed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act - and the regime appointed infamous anti-gay rights activist Sam Brownback as "international religious freedom" propagandist.
Today we have news (that I didn't know of until I searched Google for the links above) that The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) are representing five active duty transgender service members in the lawsuit Doe vs. Trump, aimed at ending Trump's ban because it's unconstitutional. I hope they prevail. If the ban is indeed unconstitutional, then there's no reason why they shouldn't.
In the meantime there are lessons here, going back to what kind of person Trump became in 2015 to play to his intolerant base. Because I'm a New Yorker and grew up hearing about Trump's antics, it irritates me when people say: "Oh, you should've known you can't trust Trump" on LGBTQIA issues. To us - to typical city and outer borough New Yorkers - it sounds kind of nuts, because we had him pegged years ago as the typical showy, pro-abortion liberal who hung out with gays and celebrities, as one does, so we might have thought he was merely putting on the "conservative" act. To fit in. To win.
While one can rest assured he's not pretending - because if it ever was an act, it's become all too real now, be it to play to his rotten base, for his own financial gain, to prevail in the 2020 race, to impress his beloved Putin with shows of similar "values", or whatever - after observing him in New York, many of us assumed he'd be just a little more bendy around the edges in respect to LGBTQIA issues than he's actually turned out to be.
Instead he's taken such a harsh stance against LGBTQIA that I have no doubt without Ivanka around to impress, things might be worse - LGBTQIA might be more routinely persecuted; the office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment might not exist; civil rights might be completely off the table by now, so...it's not going to be easy out there, and anyone with a more upbeat prediction than that is likely just kidding themselves.