CHICAGO — Amid concerns and fears that a Trump presidency will set back gains for LGBTQ Americans and other marginalized groups, Illinois LGBTQ and other supportive advocacy, health and service organizations have scheduled a forum on the possible responses to the new administration.
The free, public event is set for 6-8 pm on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 in the Lake View Presbyterian Church, 716 W. Addison St., Chicago. Though not required, free advance registration is encouraged to ensure that adequate resources are in place in the church. Sign up is at http://tinyurl.com/LGBTQresponse.
Organizations around the country have received worried calls and messages from LGBTQ Americans and their families that the hard-won rights recognized and implemented over the last eight years under President Obama are at risk of not only being reversed, but that LGBTQ people will be targeted for discrimination in many places around the country.
“It is important to come together at a community forum to share those concerns, to explain what the law protects and what might be in danger of being overturned, and to suggest ways to get involved in fighting to protect our rights,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ education and advocacy organization, which is a co-sponsor of the forum.
Other co-sponsors of the meeting include the Lake View Presbyterian Church, Howard Brown Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Association of Latino/a/x Motivating Action (ALMA), Center on Halsted, Pride Action Tank, Affinity Community Services, Puerto Rican Cultural Center (Vida/SIDA), Planned Parenthood of Illinois, South Side Help Center, and Legal Council for Health Justice.
“What happened in this election should serve as a call to action to all leaders, activists, and organizers, especially those who work in traditionally marginalized communities, that we have got to work together as one voice and take collective and strategic actions to insure that this presidency doesn’t undo all that we have gained,” said Julio Rodriguez, president of ALMA, another co-sponsor of the forum.
While some rights for LGBTQ Americans are secured for now through court decisions or laws, Johnson said that the big unknown is whether the Trump administration will rewrite President Obama’s executive orders and policies against LGBTQ discrimination and how open President-elect Trump will be to discriminatory legislation that might be passed by the Republican Congress.
On one hand, President-elect Trump believes marriage equality is settled law, as do many legal experts from around the country. However, if the president-elect proceeds with his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices “in the mold of” Justice Scalia, that could change in the future if he has the opportunity to fill more than the current vacancy.
More immediately, like most Americans, we do not yet know with any specificity what President-elect Trump will seek to accomplish in office. Given Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s attempts as governor of Indiana to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people, we are keenly aware that there are many ways a Trump administration could target LGBTQ couples, families and individuals. We are deeply concerned about how a Trump administration could target other rights many LGBTQ Americans now enjoy – from the right not to be discriminated against by an employer, to the right to serve openly and proudly in the military, to the rights to worship free from government registry, to the rights to make the most fundamental and intimate decisions about one’s own body.
Following the forum program, representatives from the host organizations will be available around the hall so that community members can get specific information about how to get involved and sign up to volunteer to work with the groups to protect LGBTQ rights.