Metro Weekly

Dear President Trump…

Letters from the LGBT community to the incoming 45th President of the United States

Incoming — Illustration: Scott G. Brooks

Written by A. Cornelius Baker, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Alexa Rodriguez, Alicia Garza, Andre Hereford, Ba’Naka, Bernie Delia, Cathy Renna, Chris Allen, Clarence Fluker, Dana Beyer, Danielle Moodie-Mills, David Mariner, David von Storch, Emil de Cou, Eric D. Schaeffer, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Holly Goldmann, Jeffrey Manabat, John Guggenmos, Jose Carrasquillo, June Crenshaw, Kate Kendell, Congressman Mark Pocan, Mike Daisey, Mitchell Gold, Nicholas Benton, Rayceen Pendarvis, Rae Carey, Schuyler Bailar, Serge Seiden and Sterling Washington.

Illustration by Scott G. Brooks

Scroll down for every letter to Trump, or read them individually here:


A. Cornelius Baker

Dear President Trump,

Since the 1700s, my family, both European and African, free and slave, has worked to build this great nation we treasure. As tradesmen and servants in the towns and fields of South Carolina and Georgia, as farmers and merchants in the hills of Alabama, and as laborers, teachers, nurses, and protectors of our safety in Florida, New York and across this country, they have left us a loving inheritance of opportunity and purpose. And like my great-grandfather, Ocie Baker, a century ago during World War I, they have served this nation in wars before and after. The great moment that we observe on your inauguration has been bought by their great faith and sacrifice even at times of despair by many of my ancestors for their own freedom.

The experience of my family and that of LGBT people, is what gives me great hope of the progress that lies ahead for the United States. Despite what has been often a brutal history for racial and sexual minorities, the magnificent achievements of the 20th century to end legal segregation, enact voting rights for all people, and to advance the civil rights of Americans regardless of gender, race, creed or sexual orientation in courts, legislatures and society remind us that the winding arc of America bends toward justice.

As you are sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, hundreds of us will be in Dallas for the 2017 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities. The men and women gathered to organize our efforts to end the HIV epidemic and improve the health of black gay men, know too well the horrible deaths and sickness that has resulted from this epidemic during the past four decades — and the

indifference of our government in its beginning. They also know the accomplishments in defeating HIV that the creative leadership of our communities have willed into being around the globe. On Inauguration Day, like all others, people around the world are at work honoring the 35 million dead from AIDS and to make prevention, care and treatment available to anyone in need. In its response to HIV, the LGBT community has left a lasting legacy of courage, determination and generosity.

Through all our suffering and times of oppression, Black people and Gay people have given more than they have received and made America stronger in so doing. In standing against the tyranny of oppression, they have given this country its moral voice in the world — along with so much of its art and music and culture.

In this time when division threatens the very future of the country we have inherited, my prayer is that you will come to know well the grace, strength and resilience of our people and hear the words of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes as America sings for justice, dignity and equality.

A. Cornelius Baker

Citizen
@acorneliusbaker


Aisha C. Moodie-Mills

Dear President Trump,

As leader of the nation for the next four years, it is imperative you declare unequivocal support for LGBT equality, and vow to protect and expand our rights while in office. The vast majority of Americans now support equal rights for LGBT people, regardless of party or ideology, race or religion. The widespread acceptance is what makes your appointees especially disturbing, given their almost universal hostility to our community and equality. I urge you direct your Cabinet to maintain agency policies inclusive of LGBT people, and to include our community in policy and decision-making.

Your appointees must emulate the example of LGBT elected officials from across the nation, who make the values of inclusion, fairness and justice the foundation of their policy decisions. LGBT elected officials understand the diversity of America, because our community cuts across demographics — we are women, people of color, immigrants, Jewish and Muslim. They understand true leadership is working to improve the lives of all Americans, and that diversity and inclusion is what makes America great.

It is these LGBT elected leaders who will hold your administration accountable for embodying those values of inclusion, fairness and justice. LGBT elected officials are unified and energized like never before, and they promise to support you in efforts to promote equality, or to be your most vocal opponents if you attempt to derail our progress. They will certainly be a strong voice for our community regardless of the path you choose.

Mr. President, our movement for equality is a moral one, and the legacy of your administration will be determined in part by your positions on our issues. Leave behind the rhetoric of the campaign and focus on bettering the lives of all Americans.

Aisha C. Moodie-Mills

President & CEO
Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute
@AishaMoodMills


Alexa Rodriguez

Dear President Trump,

Mi nombre es Alexa Rodriguez, no soy mexicana, pero si soy salvadoreña. No sé si usted encuentre la diferencia. De igual manera quiero que sepa que soy una mujer Transgénero Latina, VIH positiva, soy inmigrante y cruce la frontera como muchas de mis hermanas Translatinas. Huyendo de la violencia de nuestros países de origen, mi país como muchos influenciados y afectados por la influencia de los estados unidos.

U poco de Historia para usted antes de que nuevamente hable de las personas inmigrantes: Los pueblos indígenas llevan miles de años habitando lo que hoy es el territorio continental de los Estados Unidos. Esta población amerindia fue reducida por las enfermedades y la guerra después del primer contacto con los europeos. Estados Unidos fue fundado por trece colonias británicas, situadas a lo largo de la costa atlántica. El 4 de julio de 1776, emitieron la Declaración de Independencia, que proclamó su derecho a la libre autodeterminación y el establecimiento de una unión cooperativa. Los estados rebeldes derrotaron al Imperio británico en la guerra de independencia, la primera guerra colonial de independencia exitosa. 14 La actual Constitución de los Estados Unidos fue adoptada el 17 de septiembre de 1787.

Yo como muchas de mi familia LGBTQ, pero la más vulnerable mis hermanxs Transgénero latinas inmigrantes venimos a buscar la libertad que no tenemos en nuestros países, las personas Transgénero que nacieron en este país, buscamos respeto de la comunidad Hetero-Cisgenero. Mi llamado para usted que al entrar a la casa blanca tenga en cuanta que nosotrxs las personas transgeneros somos profesionales que aportamos mucho a la sociedad.

El presidente Obama trabajo de la mano con muchxs de nuestrxs hermanxs sobre todo con Raffi Freedman-Gurspan (Former Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement at The White House Former Outreach and Recruitment Director, Presidential Personnel Office at The White House) Hay mucho por hacer por nuestra comunidad y es su obligación mantener la seguridad de todxs lxs ciudadanos de US, sin importar la raza el color o la nacionalidad. Tenemos los mismo derechos que cualquier otro ser humano. Hay que caminar hacia adelante dejando atrás el racismo y el odio, aprenda a usar de buana manera sus privilegios como hombre blanco y sobre todo como presidente de los USA. Luche pos ser ejemplo no la vergüenza en la casa blanca.

Translation

My name is Alexa Rodriguez and I am an HIV-positive Trans-Latina woman. I may not be Mexican, but I am Salvadoran, and just like many of my Trans-Latina sisters, I am an immigrant who crossed the southern U.S. border, fleeing the violence of our homelands. My country, like many other countries in Central and Latin America, have and continue to be affected by the actions of the United States Government.

Here is a little history lesson for you before you speak about immigrants again: For thousands and thousands of years, indigenous peoples inhabited what is now United States territory. This American Indian population was drastically reduced after its first contact with European colonizers, being devastated by wars and disease. The United States was founded by 13 British colonies along the Atlantic coast. On the fourth of July, 1776, these colonies produced the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming their right to self-determination and the establishment of a cooperative union. These rebel states defeated the British in the Revolutionary War — the first successful colonial war of independence. The actual United States constitution was adopted on the 17th of September, 1787.

I, like many within my LGBTQ family and especially as the most vulnerable members of this group, Trans Latina immigrants, came to the United States in the search of liberty that we did not have in our own countries. Transgender people who were born in this country seek the respect of the straight, cisgender hegemony. Now as you enter the White House I ask you to keep in mind that my Trans Latina community is full of professionals who contribute a lot to society.

President Obama worked with many of our sisters and brothers in the community, most notably Raffi Freedman-Gurspan (Former Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement at The White House, Former Outreach and Recruitment Director, Presidential Personnel Office at The White House). There is much to be done for our community and it is your obligation, your duty to maintain the security of all the people living in the United States, regardless of race, color, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation or nationality. We have the same rights as any other human being. Moving forward, it is important to leave behind racism and hate and to learn to use your privileges as a white man and as president of the United States. Please fight on behalf of my community to be an example, and not an embarrassment, in the White House.

Alexa Rodriguez

Director
The Trans-Latina Coalition DMV
@Alexafaustino


Alicia Garza

Dear President Trump,

Like many others, I too was shocked and saddened when you claimed victory on November 8, 2016. I was and am extremely critical of Hillary Clinton, yet I chose to vote for her because you and your administration pose a greater threat to humanity than Hillary Clinton ever could.

Unfortunately, I was correct. I worry about the world that my children will inherit with you at the helm. I blame the GOP for supporting you and attempting to legitimize you, and for lacking the integrity needed to stand up and call this and you out for what it is and what you are — a threat to the promise of the America all of you claim to care so much about.

When Mike Pence defends your attacks on a civil rights leader, or when Paul Ryan praises your use of social media when you use those tools to shame, bully, threaten and intimidate, it shows me that the problem is much bigger than a difference in values — the problem is a lack of integrity and basic human decency. Fortunately, they will be remembered for being on the wrong side of history, when faced with the opportunity to show the rest of the nation how they would lead and who they would exercise leadership for.

I’ve been held hostage by your kind of values before — like with what happened with Proposition 8 in California in 2008. My partner and I got legally married the day of my grandfather’s funeral because we wanted to make sure that your brand of hate didn’t keep us from enjoying the same rights that others in America enjoy. We stood in limbo for years while our rights were debated by the courts.

Ultimately, we won. We organized, stayed focused, and fought for the future that we all deserve.

When I look at your administration, all I see is this nation moving backwards. A good ol’ boys club, hanging on to the vestiges of a past that is forever in the past. A party that is afraid of change. An endless sea of old white men with a sprinkling of older white women and little to no people of color. I know that you have no intention of making America great — the America you referred to was not great. You will make America make money for you and your friends, and let’s just be honest that this is what you truly care about. You represent America’s past, but you surely do not represent America’s future. And I, for one, will fight like hell to make sure we have a future to look forward to.

Sincerely,

Alicia Garza

Co-creator of the Black Lives Matter network, an organization you and people associated with you, like Rudy Giuliani and David Clarke, have hinted that you would like to designate as a domestic terrorist organization.
@aliciagarza


André Hereford

Dear President Trump,

Welcome to Washington, D.C.!

Not too long ago I also made the move from New York and it’s a transition that takes some getting used to. You haven’t made it clear how much time you intend to spend here but I’m sure you’ll come to understand, if you’re not already familiar, that there’s Washington, the town where you’ve come to work, where Mitch and Ryan are kings of the hill, and your new hotel sits a couple left turns from the West Wing. Then there’s D.C., where Muriel works, the Metro doesn’t always, the Redskins rule, and you can turn right on red (usually).

Washington mostly didn’t expect you, D.C. overwhelmingly didn’t vote for you, but we all need for you to try to be a decent president. Operating from within an occasionally unsupportive environment should not feel new to you, as you’ve maintained a notoriously love-hate relationship with New Yorkers, who also overwhelmingly did not vote for you. Advancing the interests of yourself and your family against currents or tides of resistance has been your m.o. for decades, and I respect that.

What definitely is new to you is holding an elected office that demands you advance the interests of people who aren’t your family, don’t work for you and might have little to nothing in common with you. As a public servant, you must be an advocate for, and champion of, Americans who can’t stand you. That’s rough, but it comes with the job that you campaigned for and won. Are you up to that? Can you be so magnanimous? Do you have that much compassion in you?

I watched and listened to you during this past campaign, and I didn’t see it. I’ve been paying attention to you as a public figure for much of my adult life, and I’ve never seen it.

I don’t see it in a man who brags about grabbing women by their genitals.

I don’t see it in a man who defends publicly mocking one person by claiming that he mocks and insults all kinds of people.

I don’t see it in a man who spends any amount of time tweeting about his so-called enemies.

I don’t see it in your cabinet picks, and certainly not in your choice of running mate.

You do seem to understand the value of compassion. In your speech to the Republican National Convention, you vowed to build an administration that is considerate to everyone, adding, “But my greatest compassion will be for our own struggling citizens.”

Fine — when will we see that? How long will citizens struggling against poverty, inequality and discrimination have to wait as you publicly demean your detractors, before they see you focus on uplifting us all? Not too long, I hope, because all Americans need your compassion right now, those who voted for you and especially the ones who can’t stand you. It won’t be easy.

I wish you well.

André Hereford

Writer


Ba’Naka

Dear President Trump,

Hey, gurl, hey! Ba’Naka here! I just wanted to reach out and give you a few helpful tips to make your move to Washington as smooth as possible. Ya’ know, just a courtesy from one superficial celebrity to another.

Let’s begin! Social Media. As a Drag Queen, my scathing wit, sharp tongue and ability to be incredibly petty has taken me far and garnered the love and respect from dozens of dozens of inebriated fans. However, President Trump, you are no drag queen, despite the many similarities in makeup wiggery and taste level. When addressing social media (or anyone else for that matter, you need to present a sense of professionalism, statesmanship and at least some semblance of sanity. Basically, you need to be “Presidential.” Think more Ronald Reagan, less Archie Bunker.

Look I get it, as a drag queen, I get the pleasure of yelling at everyone indiscriminately — it’s fun and it burns calories! From the price of duct tape to the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I have an opinion on everything and have no issue letting it be known — and that’s okay, because I’m a drag queen. You sir, however, are now the keeper of the highest office in the land.

Gurl, you need to pick your fights! Leave Miss Streep alone! Besides being a darling and an icon she is not your concern! You’ve got bigger fish to fry! You gotta keep an eye on your good Judy’s like Miss Russia, Miss China and Madame North Korea. If they are anything like my contemporaries, they are some shady ladies! They will try and snatch your wig and your gig in the blink of an eye. Focus, Queen! You are now our symbol of excellence! You got the crown, you won the pageant (No Tea, No Shade, but we all know that Pag was rigged anyway), now it’s time to act the part. You are working the main stage, honey! Please hold yourself to a higher standard (get off Twitter), and remember to smile, be polite and don’t burn the country down in your first 100 days. Good Luck & Don’t F*ck It Up!

Xoxo,

Ba’Naka

Duchess of Protocol
@BaNakaDev
P.S. I’m available for weddings, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and State Dinners.


Bernie Delia

Dear President Trump,

Throughout history, from ancient times to the present, members of the LGBT community have proudly and honorably participated in every facet of public and private life, serving the wider community and sharing our many talents. For much of that time, we did so while hiding our true identity, without the benefit of any societal support, and often under the threat of outright hostility. Happily, over the last fifty years, we have moved from being shunned and invisible to being out and able to joyously and openly share who we are with family and friends. Every year, often in June during Pride month, we take that celebration of the dignity we feel every day and share it with the larger community.

Although these events now have a more festive tone to them because of the great advances that have occurred, nonetheless, the protests against intolerance from which they originated, remain at the heart of the annual commemorations, even up to today.

During your recent presidential campaign, you said that while in office you intend to protect the members of the LGBT community from foreign threats specifically aimed at LGBT people. That is certainly a worthwhile goal. We hope that you will also protect us domestically from those in our country who would either harm us outright through violence or by passing discriminatory laws aimed at making LGBT people second-class citizens and thus depriving us of the basic rights enjoyed by the majority of Americans.

The many and diverse members of the LGBT community have survived — and thrived — in times of great difficulty and danger. We derive strength from that diversity and acknowledge that our struggle is informed by and joined with others in the civil rights community. We have withstood daunting challenges with intense determination. We possess, individually and collectively, the power to persevere and endure in the face of adversity. We appreciate those who have taken up our cause, become allies, and ultimately helped us.

Because there is work still to be done, we ask you to support our journey to full equality. Nevertheless, we will continue to move forward — we’ve done it before and we will do it again. Not only is equal treatment under the law our right as American citizens, but we have come too far and made too much progress to ever turn back now. Stand with us.

Sincerely,

Bernie Delia

President of the Board of Directors
Capital Pride Alliance, Inc.


Cathy Renna

Dear President Trump,

To be honest, even using that title made me queasy, but on January 20 it will indeed be part of American history and our reality. I believe you have done nothing to earn it and have only increasingly demonstrated a dangerous and un-American set of principles, values and intentions.

I am not a gambler, but I imagine I am feeling what someone in one of your failed casinos felt when rolling the dice or watching the roulette wheel spin — uncertainty, fear, bracing for loss because in your gut you believe the house always wins.

Since the election you and your surrogates have continued to demonstrate that a vote for you was not dissimilar to a hate crime. My relatives on my father’s side in Italy were stunned and fearful when the results came in. “Should have learned from our mistake electing Berlusconi,” they joked. But there is another Italian leader you are much more similar to, and we should heed the history lesson of their past. My father grew up in Italy when Mussolini was in power. As we know, he ruled the country constitutionally as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1925, then dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship. Now, I wouldn’t compare you to Hitler. Yet. So if the shoe fits, it would be a Dolce and Gabbana. Because when people talk about a potential constitutional crisis, this is what I believe they are alluding to.

But this is something you will never achieve. Because I believe in the core values of America and our constitution and we, as a nation, would never let this happen. Like Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights hero and icon you dismissively berated when he called your presidency illegitimate, we will march. We will resist. We will stand up and say no, not in our America.

My daughter is about the same age as Barron. What kind of world will she grow up in? Will it be one that considers her “less than” your child? Not if I can help it.

In his second inaugural speech, Barack Obama said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forbearers to Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.” I am not alone in being guided by that star that our great President of the last eight years alluded to, a star that will get us through this next period of American history like no other, one that will test us but also one we will face undaunted.

Cathy Renna

LGBTQ Activist
Principal, Target Cue
@cathyrenna


Chris Allen

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on becoming the 45th President of the United States of America!

Against the odds, many polls, and obstacles from every direction, you stunned the world by rewriting (and retweeting) the old campaign book with new tactics, a keen grasp and understanding of effective, modern communications, and strategic voter targeting. While your victory on November 8th was historic and monumental, a much greater task of bringing our divided country together lies ahead. Your business acumen and mastery of deal-making are great strengths to help you achieve this for our country and all Americans.

As a Republican, continue to set an example for other Republicans regarding their views on LGBT issues as you did in your convention speech in Cleveland when you said, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” Supporting our community and making sexual orientation a non-issue within the GOP is the direction our party needs and is consistent with our party’s principles of limited government and individual liberty.

As a businessman, continue to remind states that anti-LGBT laws are bad for business as you did when North Carolina passed HB2. Lead by example, as you did in your personal businesses, by hiring and appointing the best qualified people regardless of anything else. Continue to enforce the executive order that bans LGBT discrimination with federal contractors, and work with Congress to pass similar a nationwide bill.

As an accomplished dealmaker, lead Congress toward fixing our healthcare system to actually become affordable for all Americans. Find common ground to create more jobs, enact fair regulations that protect Americans but don’t strangle small businesses, and craft a tax code that encourages businesses to stay and leaves more money in our pockets. Guide our leaders to break the gridlock in Washington, modernize our military with 21st century technologies to combat new and growing cyber threats, and accomplish what leaders from both sides have been unable to do and reign in our astounding national debt.

On the world stage, make smart deals that continue to promote our ideals, collaborate with our allies so that power vacuums don’t form and allow extremists to advance and grow, and achieve peace at home and abroad by projecting strength and tactful diplomacy.

There are many of us supporting you starting on day one, but others will need more convincing. Overwhelm our country with such great leadership so that when you leave office, the world will anxiously await your guidance in your biggest best seller of all time: The Art of Governing.

Good luck and best wishes,

Chris Allen

President
DC Log Cabin Republicans
@DCLogCabin


Clarence J. Fluker

Dear President Trump,

You will hear us. You will hear the voices of millions of Americans who oppose your narrow worldview, shallow rhetoric and proposed policies that benefit those who have the most, while hurting the most vulnerable. Our voices will not be made silent.

We are not afraid.

We are resilient. We are empowered. We are determined.

We stand in truth. We stand on the right side of history. We stand on the backs of those who stood before us. We stand as a beautiful representation of the diversity of our already great nation.

We know that you thought you could dissuade us. We know you thought you could divide us. We know that you thought shadows would prevail. You thought wrong.

There is no such thing as Trump’s America. There is only the United States of America. Your single election didn’t wipe out hundreds of years of our history and its progress. Your election only reminded us that we must be remain forever vigilant. We will continue to push ahead and embrace the idea that our democracy can only work at its best when every citizen is genuinely heard, understood and engaged. Americans who believe in true equality, freedom, liberty and opportunity for all, have much work to do. And we are up to the task.

We will organize. We will demonstrate. We will litigate. We will agitate. In city halls, in state capitals, in the Capitol Building and in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, you will hear us. We will rise as one.

WE the people will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Your Fellow Countryman,

Clarence J. Fluker

Former Obama Appointee
@CJFluker

Click through for the rest of our letters to Trump!