Beto ran a 5K for the cause, Joe Biden took a turn behind the bar at the Stonewall Inn, Mayor Pete and Elizabeth Warren are selling Pride-themed items in their merch stores. It’s Pride Month, and the 2020 Democratic contenders have been courting LGBTQ voters in a big way. But although most LGBT voters identified as Democrats in 2018, being trans, gay or pansexual does not a Democrat make.
VICE News put together a panel made up of 12 members of the LGBTQ+ community and asked them about their politics — which were extremely diverse — and who they like for 2020.
“I think Donald Trump is really changing the Republican Party by working with the gay and lesbian community,” said Paul Ramirez, a Republican gay man and the vp of advertising at The Wisdom Companies. “If there was a homophobic drop of blood in him, we would have heard that 20 years ago.”
Others decidedly disagreed about Trump’s record on LBGTQ issues, and its effect on the community.
“When the Trump administration, or perhaps just Trump via Twitter, puts out a statement saying that ‘no more trans people are allowed in the military, that’s it we’re cutting you off and anybody in has got to leave.’ That affects the lives of transgender citizens of this country,” said actor Donnie Cianciotto, who identifies as a pansexual transgender man and a Democrat. “It makes us appear ‘less than’ to other people, who now can justify their bigotry and their transphobia, because look at what the government does.”
As for Mayor Pete, the openly gay candidate running for President, his out and proud status wasn’t enough for panelists, on either end of the political spectrum.
“There’s nothing fresh. He’s an Obama sequel,” said Brandon Straka, a Republican gay man and founder of the # WalkAway Campaign, which aims to get left-leaning voters to turn away from the Democratic Party. “The fact that he’s gay — that doesn’t mean he has my back as a trans person,” said LGBTQIA+ educator and activist Jamey Jesperson, who identifies as a progressive queer non-binary asexual transfemme. “It means nothing to me that he is a gay person, because he’s also cis, and he’s also white.”
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