‘The election is life or death’: For LGBTQ voters, a Trump reelection is dangerous

The White House with a pride flag


For the last four years, Donald Trump has slowly chipped away at LGBTQ rights. The Trump administration has rolled back protections for the LGBTQ community in housing, healthcare, employment, and education.

Trump is often called the most anti-LGBTQ president in the history of the United States.

Progress made under the Obama-era is under attack

Obama sitting at his desk

Barack Obama Presidential Library

The Trump administration reversed an Obama-era memo to protect trans students from discrimination. During Trump’s first summer in the Oval Office, he announced a ban on trans people serving in the military.

More recently, the Trump administration attempted to sabotage the LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act. The new rule would allow doctors and insurance companies to refuse care for LGBTQ people.

The White House sought to reverse gay rights, including giving religious adoption agencies the right to refuse same-sex couples. Trump also nominated two conservative Supreme Court justices.

The people fight back

 Demonstrator holding a sign that says "We are better than this!"


Trump does not always succeed, however. In June this year, a surprise Supreme Court ruling announced that LGBTQ people would be protected from sex-based discrimination, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Nonetheless, the Republican National Convention surges ahead with speeches supporting Donald Trump. Critics fear that the Republican Party Platform (the same as 2016 as the GOP did not create one for 2020) is the most anti-LGBTQ in the party’s history.

What will another four years of Trump mean?

A photograph of the LGBTQ Pride flag.


With another term in the Oval Office, Trump would likely appoint more homophobic federal judges and perhaps another conservative Supreme Court justice.

To date, 194 of the 792 federal judges appointed by Trump have previously expressed, or openly state anti-LGBTQ leanings.

LGBTQ activists predict an increase in legal arguments against trans rights and more anti-LGBTQ policies to be written into law.

Ongoing legal cases could end badly

A close up photo of a gavel

Unsplash / Bill Oxford

There are pending lawsuits whose outcomes could be devastating for the future of LGBTQ rights if Trump remains in power. There are student suits seeking access to the bathroom of their choice, and California v. Texas will decide on adoption agencies having the right to refuse gay parents.

Chase Strangio is an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union. He believes Trump will continue his strategy of anti-trans policies across housing, the military, and education. He fears that Trump could inflict damage within the Constitution that will not be easily undone.

 You get some horrible, constitutional ruling that then authorizes discrimination in a host of contexts because trans people are so abhorrent that you have a constitutional right not to share space with them.

LGBTQ people could lose the right to healthcare

Healthcare worker looks out a window


Republicans have repeatedly attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This legislation is key to ensuring LGBTQ people can access affordable health care.

The Trump administration already passed a ruling stating that LGBTQ people are not allowed sex-based protections under the ACA. The removal of these protections could mean that trans people are denied insurance.

Trans-rights are also under threat.

Another four years of Trump could see increased attacks on trans rights to health care. The administration could ban transition-related procedures from Medicaid coverage. There is also fear that Trump would call for a FDA ban on puberty blockers for trans adolescents.

Immigration rights could be a matter of life and death

LGBTQ+ couple lying side by side


If the Trump administration has another four years to deny asylum for LGBTQ people, they could face not just deportation, but death.

Many queer and trans people seek asylum in the United States because they are fleeing gender-based violence. In 2018, Trump heightened immigration restrictions to make it easier to refuse asylum to people coming through Mexico to the United States.

The same year, a young trans woman called Camila Díaz Córdova escaped from El Salvador. She arrived in the United States and applied for asylum only to be deported back to her home country. A few months later, she was murdered by three police officers.

Trump’s asylum regulations will be devastating for LGBTQ people

Pride parade


The coronavirus pandemic gave Trump the perfect excuse to ramp up his anti-asylum strategy. He closed the border with Mexico and deported many asylum seekers at the border.

It is trans women who are often hurt the most by these policies.

Central America is notorious for anti-trans violence. Between October 2018 and September 2019 at least 258 trans people were murdered in Latin America. Most of them were trans women of color.

If Trump has another four years in power, he could permanently shut the door to asylum seekers. He has already issued a “temporary” ban on issuing new green cards.

If Democrats retake the Senate and the White House there will be hope

Close up of a face painted with the rainbow flag


Democratic nominee Joe Biden will change the course of action if he is elected to the White House. He has promised to reverse the military ban and return to the guidelines allowing trans students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Biden is a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ community. Gay rights activists believe he will reverse the conservative and homophobic changes created under Donald Trump.

Many are confident that Biden will make progress for trans rights and improve the immigration and asylum system. Under Joe Biden, the United States of America could once again become a rainbow nation.

But for that to happen, we have to vote. See if you qualify for an absentee ballot below:

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