While the chasm between left and right in this nation continues to grow, and even the definition of liberal and conservative seems to be up for debate, there is one unambiguous sign of progress: the arc of history for America’s LGBTQ community continues to bend toward equality and inclusion. But even as we celebrate our victories, we know there is more to be done. Though the visibility of LGBTQ business leaders such as Tim Cook and Peter Thiel is part of a rapidly changing corporate environment, LGBTQ individuals can still be fired just for being gay in a majority of states in America. And while numerous societies have moved to ensure widespread equality for gays and lesbians, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters face persecution in too many countries abroad.
Not all of these signs of change have been equally visible to the population at large. For LGBTQ Republicans, watching the 2016 GOP convention before Donald Trump took the stage was like a dream fulfilled. The distance between that event and Pat Buchanan’s hate-filled exhortation against the LGBTQ community in Houston in 1992 is a powerful measurement of how far we’ve come. Some of the moral leaders who stood with Buchanan back then were still there three years ago in Cleveland to be sure. But this time, they refrained from passing judgment on gays and lesbians. And in an extraordinarily uplifting moment, Thiel uttered the words for the first time, “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.” He was met with thunderous standing applause from the body of the Republican Party.
This is the party that Trump has helped make possible by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook.
And since taking office, Trump has followed through on many of his commitments to the United States, including taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.
He has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years, through the use of proven science, medicine and technology to which we presently have access. This scourge decimated a generation of gay men in the United States, and continues to inflict pain, suffering and death at home and abroad.
Trump has used the United States’ outsize global influence to persuade other nations to adopt modern human-rights standards, including launching an initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality, which is considered illegal in more than 70 countries. To lead this effort, the president has chosen the highest-ranking LGBTQ individual in the administration, Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, who brings his experience as the United States’ spokesman at the United Nations to bear on this critical campaign.
And Grenell is one of many LGBTQ appointees that Trump has tapped to serve in his administration. They serve America’s people and the government with honor and distinction, just as Leonard Matlovich sought to do in 1975 by appearing on the cover of Time magazine with the famous caption “I Am a Homosexual,” catapulting the plight of those discharged from the military into public light.
And it is not merely policies specific to LGBTQ people that have been good for our community. The president’s tax cuts have benefited LGBTQ families and helped put food on their tables. His opportunity zones have helped create new LGBTQ-founded small businesses. The administration’s aggressive negotiation on trade deals have preserved LGBTQ jobs. His hard line on foreign policy has protected LGBTQ lives. What benefits all Americans benefits the LGBTQ community, as we cross every racial, socioeconomic, religious and cultural divide.
While we do not agree with every policy or platform position presented by the White House or the Republican Party, to be sure, we share a commitment to individual responsibility, personal freedom and a strong national defense. To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, 80 percent my friend is not 20 percent my enemy. We are committed to letting all qualified Americans serve in the military, and Log Cabin Republicans was a leader in the legal fight to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. We oppose the transgender service restriction and will continue to press the administration to reconsider.
To be treated equally, fairly and justly under the law is our goal, and we know that “Inclusion Wins” is a mantra we share with the president. Log Cabin Republicans endorses Donald Trump for reelection as president.
Robert Kabel is the chairman and Jill Homan is the vice chairwoman of Log Cabin Republicans, a national group representing LGBTQ conservatives.