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Trump & LGBT Community? Stay Tuned.

U.S. State Department

When Donald Trump takes the oath as the 45th president of the United States, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community will be waiting to see what happens next.

At the Republican National Convention, Trump used the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando to set up a promise to protect the LGBT community.

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology,” said Trump at a rally after the attack.

Others, including Louis Cooper, the President of Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida, remain skeptical.

“I do think that the Trump administration gives reasons for LGBT Americans to be concerned,” said Cooper. Much of that concern is Trump appointing justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who will rule on issues such as marriage equality. Another part of that concern is the cabinet Trump is assembling.

Credit Louis Cooper/Twitter
Louis Cooper, Gay Grassroots of NW Florida

“Many of them are not friends of the LGBT community,” Cooper said. “Jeff Sessions, who Trump has appointed to be attorney general, has a well-documented history of being anti-LGBT rights, including voting against hate crimes protections for LGBT Americans.”

Two major LGBT victories during the Obama Administration, marriage equality and the right to serve openly in the military, appear to be safe for now. Repealing either would likely take massive litigation over years. But Cooper says other gains through Obama’s executive orders could be targeted.

“[Obama] signed an executive order, banning discrimination against LGBT Americans among federal contractors, and a federal order regarding schools in relations to trans rights,” said Cooper. “Theoretically, President Trump could sign an executive order reversing that on day one. I haven’t heard him say that.”

And what President Trump can’t, or won’t , do, an emboldened, Republican-controlled Congress may. One example is the proposed First Amendment Defense Act.

“If serving a gay couple, if you believe that would violate your religious convictions, then you would be able to discriminate against them,” Cooper said. “Trump has said he would sign that.”

Trump has also said that transgender people should be protected, but by the states and not through federal legislation.

Gay Grassroots’ Louis Cooper says they’re discussing a number of educational events, including a diversity forum, where many of the issues related to the new administration could be discussed.

“From LGBT issues, to women’s issues to Latino issues,” said Cooper. “Almost any minority group that you could think of was touched on during the election from either side.”

During the primary season, Donald Trump said he would be the most LGBT-friendly Republican candidate in the crowded field. As he prepares to enter the White House, it remains to be seen whether he’ll make good on that pledge.