Donald Trump's ongoing and pathetic argument that he is a true "friend" to the LGBTQ community keeps getting weaker and weaker. Following the mass shooting in Orlando which left 49 people dead, most of whom belonged to the Latinx LGBTQ community, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee ludicrously claimed that he, not Hillary Clinton, is an ally to the community. Never mind the fact that much of his platform has been built on the marginalization of minority groups. And now, Trump's meeting with evangelicals is evidence enough that he will never be a friend to the LGBTQ community.
On Tuesday, June 21, Trump will meet with a group of more than 500 evangelical Christian leaders for "a conversation about America's future." But this "future" looks decidedly different from what we're on track for, as many in the room would likely not include marriage equality or legal protections for LGBTQ people in it. With the aid of Ben Carson, Trump will try to persuade the evangelical crowd to support him in his run for the White House.
Trump truly kills any chance to claim ties to the LGBTQ community, however, when you consider the conversation's organizer. The meeting was orchestrated by Tony Perkins, the president of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council. The organization has been designated an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which states that it has used its discriminatory stance against LGBTQ people as a means to gain political power in a Republican Party which has moved further and further right over the decades.
Perkins has managed to spout every discriminatory stance in the book. From blaming other mass shootings on the LGBTQ community to advocating for so-called "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ youth to calling marriage equality "a moral and social evil," Perkins and the FLC have done it all.
And Trump, despite his attempts to exploit the LGBTQ community in a moment of vulnerability for political gain, is not far behind the FLC's stances. He has continuously promised to roll back marriage equality, appoint anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court Justices, and permit state-sanctioned discrimination against the LGBTQ community. What hatred Perkins proposes in words, Trump would enact in policy.
Courting LGBTQ people's biggest opponents, the ones who have asserted religious dogma in the name of hate for decades, shows why Trump could never be a friend to the LGBTQ community.