On Thursday evening, Donald Trump gave his Republican presidential nominee acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he said that he will do everything in his role as president of the United States to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community in the U.S.
"As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology," Trump said. "Believe me. And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you."
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigration activist, quickly took to Twitter to point out the paradox in Trump's statement:
The GOP nominee has routinely called for a ban on all Muslims, and named-called Mexicans as thugs and rapists. What Trump doesn't acknowledge is that the LGBTQ community is made up of undocumented immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, women, African Americans, people with disabilities and other communities that the reality star has railed against with his virile rhetoric. This is something tech billionaire Peter Thiel also failed to address when he told the crowd on Thursday that he's "proud to be gay" in his endorsement of Trump.
Simply put: It is impossible to protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals when you don't protect their rights as people of different cultural backgrounds. The RNC sent out a dangerously false message that LGBTQ rights in the United States can prosper even when the rights of other marginalized communities are suppressed — and it's permeating within the GOP culture.
Conservative news site Breitbart's tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who was recently banned from Twitter for encouraging cyberharassment, hosted a gay anti-Islam RNC party after the first day of the convention. In the party, there has clearly been anti-Muslim sentiment. This alienates LGBTQ Muslims who are proud of both their sexuality and religious identity.
Newt Gingrich jumped on the trend to demonize Islam and Muslims to appeal to the LGBTQ community during his RNC speech on Wednesday.
"If our enemies had their way, gays, lesbians, and transgender citizens would be put to death, as they are today in the Islamic State and Iran," Gingrich said.
Yes, the Islamic State is barbaric in their treatment of LGBTQ people in the Middle East. But in the U.S., lawmakers have drafted homophobic legislation, supported anti-transgender bathroom laws and implemented anti-gay "religious freedom" bills that continue to suppress the LGBTQ community.