Whether we are talking politics and whether or not the new president will be LGBT supportive or talking about facing the holiday season wondering if it is a good time to come out of the closet to relatives at the dinner table, there appears to be a lot of things to be afraid of if you are LGBT these days. It feels like the climate is shifting and I am not talking about the weather. I am talking about the social atmosphere towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Backlash seems to be brewing.
It feels like people are more empowered than ever to rollback our human and civil rights as LGBT people in this country and around the world. It seems that people are jumping into a mob mentality while led by President-elect Donald J. Trump, who seems to be pandering to a population of people that generally holds a very strict conservative worldview or very strong fundamentalist picture of how things should be– for their own comfort and convenience at the expense of our personal freedoms and our dignity as human beings.
LGBT youth and teenagers are especially vulnerable now more than ever. If Trump is some kind of role model and his words and actions are to be considered a guide for others, then the messages of hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination are empowering those that would bully LGBT kids and teens. Trump does not impress me as a very compassionate or caring individual and his character is in question with just about everything he says and does. He is not a positive role model in my opinion and has yet to display the kind of leadership and moral sense of judgment needed to assure that the LGBT community is welcome as equals in our democracy and society. I fail to see his cabinet appointments or Vice-President choice as conducive to supporting LGBT equality.
We know if we have watched this year’s election just how split and divided this country is. We also know full well that there are populations in this country that we can objectively consider to be racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, sexist, and misogynistic. We know that for many conservatives, LGBT issues fail to resonate.
So how do we bridge the gaps or seal this divide? How do we protect ourselves against the growing waves of hatred and discrimination? How do we cope with an uncertain future where our rights might be violated and our surroundings may be come more hostile or toxic?
LGBT persons of faith know that there is power in prayer. There is power in God. We all must rally together and build confidence and trust in that God loves us even when it seems like society-at-large is up against us. Remember that even the most righteous and most upright and moral people were persecuted and hunted and even killed for their beliefs! Jesus was persecuted and you can’t find a nicer, more kinder, more compassionate and all-inclusive person! You could say the same for John the Baptist, Paul, Stephen, and so many other figures not just in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament as well. There have been many spiritual people in Islam, Judaism, and other faiths and cultures who had been forced to sacrifice themselves or die defending their faith and their identity.
Ultimately, their faith and loyalty to God and their identity as persons of faith was rewarded. They share in the Kingdom of God. Their acts of courage have been immortalized and placed in our spiritual culture. They are inspirations to us. They are encouraging us to fight for social justice and for equality and peace and love for all people from all walks of life. And our hard work and our courage will be rewarded with treasures from heaven if God wills it.
We must also recognize that hatred and violence and bigotry will have no place in heaven. The thinking of Trump and his more hate-inspired followers will not inhabit a heaven defined by compassion, love, kindness, openness, and inclusiveness. Love truly trumps, Trump and his phobic followers. God is the ultimate authority and all worldly leaders will be held to account under Him. God will establish justice in the end. It is our job to encourage these hate mongers and bullies to repent and see the errors of their ways. We must invite them to understand the message of love and compassion rather than the rhetoric of division and discrimination.