Each week we will be profiling a political candidate to see where they stand on transgender issues. We have no interest in taking sides politically and will try to look at these candidates solely based on their intentions towards the transgender community.
This week: Republican Candidate Donald Trump
Donald Trump was born June 14, 1946, he is a well known billionaire real estate developer, investor, businessman and television personality. He is often known to speak his mind on a variety of topics and we will take a look at some of his stances on LGBT issues.
“I grew up in New York City, a town with different, races, religion and peoples. It breeds tolerance. I don’t care weather or not a person is gay. I judge people based on their capability, honesty and merit.”
In a February 2000 interview with Paul Alexander of the Advocate, he was asked why the LGBT community should support him. Trump replied stating “I grew up in New York City, a town with different, races, religion and peoples. It breeds tolerance. I don’t care weather or not a person is gay. I judge people based on their capability, honesty and merit.” He went on to say, “If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them.” when referring to a hypothetical Trump presidency. He also was for an amendment to the Civil Rights Act that would include sexual orientation. He did came out against gay marriage but was for civil unions and protections. He also felt Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a failure and that gays and lesbians should be able to openly serve.
It was not until 2012 and the Miss Universe Pageant that Trump would be faced with the question of transgender rights. Jenna Talackova, Miss Universe Canada, was disqualified from the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant (owned by Donald Trump) because she was transgender. This is where the history of Trump’s position gets fuzzy. According to 2012 a report by Jordan Graber of Chron, Trump had worked with GLAAD to address the matter. A spokesperson for GLAAD made a statement saying, “For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender.”, “We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately.” The fuzzy part is that Jenna Talackova did file a lawsuit against the pageant and we are unable to determine if the policy change was from genuine intent or a result of the pending suit. This resulted in some horrible statements from Trump which were in reference to Miss Talackova’s name and the fact that she is transgender. We will not repeat them here. Talackova ended up finishing 12th in the pageant and was one of 4 winners of the Miss congeniality award.
In an August 2015 report by Emma Margolin for MSNBC, she asked the question, “Is Trump the most LGBT friendly Republican candidate?” In the report when the question was posed to Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the pro-LGBT Log Cabin Republicans, he replied, “I think that might be going a little overboard,” adding, “It’s important to point out that Trump is not the first GOP Republican candidate to say he supports nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals.”
“I’m not surprised at the ratings (regarding I am Cait). I just think it wouldn’t interest you. I knew him a little bit when Bruce was a great athlete. He was one of the best-looking people you’ll ever see.”
In an article by Janice Min for the Hollywood Reporter, Trump was asked about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender politics only to reply, “I’m not surprised at the ratings (regarding I am Cait). I just think it wouldn’t interest you. I knew him a little bit when Bruce was a great athlete. He was one of the best-looking people you’ll ever see.” many in the transgender community were offended by the use of the pronoun “he” in his statement. Unfortunately Min did not press on the issue further.
So where Donald Trump stand on Transgender issues? It is hard to truly tell. The only time he ever spoke about the issue directly was regarding the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant and the messages were mixed at best. We also have the recent statement regarding Caitlyn Jenner. Trump is also not a stranger to controversy. Recently GLAAD has come out against Trump for his stances on the LGBT community and marriage equality. But is it fair to say he will be bad for the community? Is it possible he is just posturing to get the Republican nod? We will have to see. From what we can find Donald Trump would not necessarily go out of his way to hurt the transgender community, but he would also not go out of his way to do anything for it.
As always we have reached out to the Trump campaign and will provide an update regarding any response we receive.