They says his positions on LGBTQ right is a big unknown.
Frederick, Md (KM) There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to President Donald Trump’s attitude about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. “The President hasn’t made it very clear where he particularly falls down on LGBTQ issues,” says Kris Fair, the Chair of the Frederick Center. “In some cases, it sounds like he’s supportive. In other cases, he sounds like he’s less supportive.”
But Fair notes that a lot of Trump’s inner circle are not supportive of rights for LGBTQ citizens, pointing to Vice President Mike Pence. “We do have a standing record with his Vice President, though, as Governor of Indiana, as he was working legislation to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. There was a lot of concern about his strength in the White House and what initiatives he would take.”
The issue that’s caused a firestorm recently among the LGBTQ community and other citizens is President Trump’s executive order revoking federal guidelines on transgender students in public schools on which restroom or locker room they can use. “We have had a history of challenges with this issue, whether it be that they’re not necessarily not allowing them to use the restroom that identifies with their gender. But they’re forcing them to go into like the health room. So everytime somebody has to go to the health room to use the bathroom. And is in and of itself kind of embarrassing,” he says.
In 2015, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to protect transgender citizens when it comes to the use of public facilities. But schools are exempt, “a loophole that I strongly suggest the State House look at editing,” says Fair.
In the meantime, it’s up to local boards of education to decide whether to accommodate transgender students’ and the use of school bathrooms. Fair says the Frederick Center has received a complaint that a public school in Carroll County denied a transgender student the use of a restroom which conforms to that person’s sexual identity. “We are researching that, providing the state law that should protect them through anti-discrimination matters, and reaching out to the school to see exactly what their stance is and how they came to that very absurd decision,” he says.
But Fair says some in the LGBTQ community is not ready to totally reject President Trump. “I am sure there are instances and situations where the LGBTQ community will support our President. And as he addresses LGBTQ issues, if he maintains an affirming stance, he will get nothing but support from us.
However, he says, the LGBTQ community will speak out loudly if Trump attempts to trample on their rights. “This country was founded on the concept of ‘let’s not sit back and wait and see what happens.’ We plan, we organized. And people might get frustrated that we rally and plan and organize. And from that end, it’s partially to make a voice, to make sure our government knows ‘listen, these people are here,” says Fair.
He says the LGBTQ community comprises 5% of the nation’s population.
By Kevin McManus