If all goes well, President Trump will be removed from office. Unfortunately, this provides little comfort for many.
If President Trump is impeached or resigns, Vice President Mike Pence will become the next president of the United States. This should alarm anyone who values social progress and equality.
Known as “the most openly anti-LGBT Vice-President in history,” Pence has a long record of opposing LGBTQ rights.
[Pence is] one of the most anti-L.G.B.T. politicians out there. - Jay Brown, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, quoted in The New York Times
A look at Pence’s anti-LGBTQ record
Pence has argued for public funding of conversion therapy (a harmful, discredited psychological treatment that tries to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity). Despite conversion therapy’s detrimental impact on LGBTQ youth, only 9 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have laws banning it for minors. This leaves 41 states without laws prohibiting this inhumane practice - making a Pence presidency increasingly dangerous.
The first step ― which usually lasted six months ― [is] where they ‘deconstruct us as a person.’ Their tactics still haunt me. Aversion therapy, shock therapy, harassment and occasional physical abuse. Their goal was to get us to hate ourselves for being LGBTQ (most of us were gay, but the entire spectrum was represented), and they knew what they were doing.... The second step of the program, they ‘rebuilt us in their image.’ They removed us of everything that made us a unique person, and instead made us a walking, talking, robot for Jesus. They retaught us everything we knew. How to eat, talk, walk, dress, believe, even breathe. We were no longer people at the end of the program. - A survivor of gay conversion therapy quoted in The HuffPost
Pence has also contended that federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment should only be granted if the government was able to prove that no funding went to “organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
Additionally, Pence notoriously signed into law the anti-LGBTQ “religious liberty” bill that made it legal for businesses to cite religious freedom when refusing service to gay and transgender people.
As a member of Congress, Pence voted against employment nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people and voted against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also predicted marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse.”
Pence has already proven dangerous in the White House
Vice President Pence plays an integral role in an administration which has proven hostile to LGBTQ equality. This is hardly surprising given Pence’s career-long anti-LGBTQ agenda.
In just over an hour of “President Trump,” the White House’s LGBT rights page vanished. (This page previously celebrated legislation advancing LGBTQ rights as well as raised awareness for lifesaving campaigns, including the It Gets Better Project.)
In February, the Trump administration formally rescinded crucial protections for transgender students and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on a transgender rights case that could have determined whether federal law covers gender identity discrimination in public schools. (Pence had previously affirmed his intention to roll back protections for transgender students if elected.)
Additionally, President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Neil Gorsuch, has already revealed himself as a threat to LGBTQ progress. In June, Gorsuch dissented from a ruling that requires states to list same-sex parents on birth certificates.
Gorsuch’s dissent suggests he may not accept Obergefell as settled law and may instead seek to undermine or reverse it. - Mark Joseph Stern in Slate
Pence was an adamant supporter of Gorsuch’s nomination.
On July 26th, the Justice Department interjected into a private employment lawsuit, arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect gay people. On that same day, President Trump announced he was barring transgender people from serving openly in the military. Pence is cited as “championing the amendments.”
Those that are publicly out right now. They're finally being accepted and then the rug is pulled out underneath them. - A transgender military veteran quoted in ABC News
Pence’s personal history combined with his actions as vice president, indicate that a Pence presidency would involve the federal government attempting to roll back LGBTQ rights.
Now is the time for action
Under either a Trump or Pence presidency, we need to strongly advocate for everyone’s fundamental right to live authentically without prejudice. It is on each of us to ensure that all members of our society have their civil rights protected - regardless of who is in the White House.
In today’s climate, we must remember that the majority of states still do not ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Under federal and most states’ laws, LGBTQ people aren’t explicitly protected from discrimination in the workplace, housing, or public accommodations (such as restaurants, hotels, and other places that serve the public). This means that someone can be fired from a job, evicted from a home, or kicked out of a business just because an employer, landlord, or business owner doesn’t approve of the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. - German Lopez in Vox
We must resist being dragged backwards. It is time for us to pass the Equality Act.
It is, once again, time for increased visibility.
Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene. - Harvey Milk