By Rachael Walloga
Elm Staff Writer
“As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” said Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in June of 2016.
President-elect Donald Trump often shows signs of waffling on issues facing the LGBT community.
Despite his self-proclaimed position as an ally to the community, his Vice President Mike Pence is firm in his anti-LGBT legislation.
Pence has “supported numerous legislative efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana,” says Katie Shepherd and Alan Rappeport in their New York Times article on his political leanings.
More frightening is Pence’s open support of conversion therapy in LGBT youth.
Conversion therapy is the process by which medical practitioners attempt to train people who are homosexual to reject their identity. Previously, doctors would do so by means of “institutionalization, castration, and electroconvulsive shock therapy to try to stop people from being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”
Professionals use a process of behavioral conditioning to train the individual to respond negatively to homosexual activity by associating the thoughts with something negative. More commonly, this process results in depression or even suicide.
Despite being denounced, banned, and generally rejected by the larger scientific community, Mike Pence shows his support of this process to correct homosexuality.
“Pence opposed federal funding that would support treatment for people suffering from H.I.V. and AIDS, unless the government simultaneously invested in programs to discourage people from engaging in same-sex relationships,” said Shepherd and Rappeport.
The overwhelming loss of life during the AIDs crisis can be attributed to the lack of response by Ronald Reagan’s administration due to their belief that AIDs was strictly a gay disease. This type of rhetoric and legislation is unacceptable.
“Even before the shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were already the most likely targets of hate crimes in America,” states Haeyoun Park for the New York Times in their article analyzing hate crime statistics in the US.
If Donald Trump truly wants to protect the LGBT community, it would be necessary for him to drop Pence as Vice President, because his policies and opinions will cause true damage to the LGBT community.