I keep hearing optimists say about the Donald administration, “hey, don’t worry, just wait and see what they do — maybe it won’t be so bad.”
But we don’t have to wait. He’s already appointed or is considering a bunch of people for his administration who had a long track record of opposing equality for queer people. There will be literally thousands of new people hired as part of this administration, but the ones at the top have already proven that they’re a huge danger to LGBT people everywhere.
For example, Tom Price at the Department of Health and Human Services. Among other things, be in charge of anti-bullying programs — which is perfect, given that he took to Facebook earlier this year to make fun of trans people.
Then there’s Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Her family’s given millions of dollars to backers of ex-gay abuse camps; now she’ll be responsible for protecting the civil rights of the nation’s children. (Or, more likely, dismantling the office that protects those rights.)
Similarly, Elaine Chao could gut the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Transportation — after all, she’s spent time collaborating with the Heritage Institute, an extremist group that claims marriage equality causes abortions. And Ken Blackwell, who is in charge of domestic policy for the transition, says that marriage equality causes mass shootings.
As National Security Advisor, Donald’s appointed Michael Flynn. He also mocked trans people, and could push to have them discharged from the Army just weeks after a ban on their open service was lifted. Nikki Haley is going to be Ambassador the United Nations; she fought to block marriage equality and trans accommodations as Governor of South Carolina, and now she could do it on a global scale.
Many of Donald’s appointees could collude to undermine or repeal marriage equality. Jeff Sessions has been named Attorney General — he already tried to ban marriage once with a constitutional amendment. Now he could team up with Bill Pryor, one of Donald’s picks for the Supreme Court, to argue against the freedom to marry. Anti-equality groups have already said that bringing a federal case to undo marriage is a top priority under this administration. They could also work with Tom Leppert, who’s in a leadership role with the Social Security Administration. He says that marriage is ”between one man and one woman,” and could provide a test case for government officials who want to disregard marriage licenses — by blocking gay couples from accessing the money they were counting on for retirement.
But the potential appointee who alarms me the most is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who said after the Supreme Court legalized marriage that it could lead to another Civil War. He’s being considered to run the Department of Homeland Security — yup, that’s right, the guy who could be in charge of Homeland Security thinks gay couples will spark a civil war. (He also thinks that #BlackLivesMatter will ALSO lead to Civil War — that seems to be his favorite End Times Scenario.) I can’t even guess what he thinks and appropriate response would be, but I will point out that under his leadership the county jail has seen an unprecedented number of people dying while in custody.
So what’s to be done? Definitely not “waiting and seeing” how things go. We can take action right now by calling our members of Congress and telling them to oppose these appointments. You can do that by calling 1-844-USA-0234, enter your zip code, and you’ll be connected with each of your Congress members, one after the other. Tell them that these appointees pose an immediate danger to LGBT citizens and their families. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a lot more effective than waiting.