The second in a series from inside the International LGBT Leaders Conference. See Part One here.
January 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency, many social conservatives hope that he will completely reverse his predecessor’s radical pro-LGBTQ agenda. But homosexual and transgender activists attending the first major “gay” conference after Trump’s stunning victory predicted that some of Obama’s major LGBTQ policies, especially changes in the military, will be difficult to reverse.
“The toothpaste is so far out of the tube, there’s so many LGBT people serving [in the military], that to unwind it would be difficult,” said lesbian activist Sue Fulton.
“President Obama’s leadership is why we’re here. … It was my honor and privilege to serve under who I know is the greatest president of the United States,” gushed Wally Brewster, the outgoing openly homosexual U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Brewster made the remarks during the opening panel of the Dec. 8-10 International LGBT Leaders conference sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute.
The Institute is affiliated with the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a PAC that helps elect openly homosexual and transgender politicians, who are mostly “progressive” Democrats.
Ambassador Brewster's words epitomized the adoration that many LGBTQ activists have for the outgoing 44th president, who is easily the most pro-homosexual and pro-transgender chief executive in American history. Obama is the first president to elevate homosexuality and gender-confusion (“transgenderism”) as “human rights” in U.S. foreign policy. During Obama's tenure, many foreign nations like Kenya and Jamaica pushed back against his aggressive “gay” activism.
About 550 LGBT leaders and activists from all over the world attended the Victory Institute conference, according to organizers. It was financed, as are most LGBT events today, by major corporations like AT&T, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Comcast. Originally envisioned as a recruitment/celebration event of sorts for a presumed “President Hillary Clinton” administration, by necessity it turned into a strategy session for preserving Obama’s extensive “gay” and “trans” legacy.
Participants were devastated by the loss of Hillary Clinton, who was as committed to the LGBTQ agenda as Obama, and were still reeling from the Trump political tsunami. They strategized on how to resist a resurgent, conservative populism with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.
“A lot of us are feeling gut-punched by this election,” said one panelist, Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, at a panel titled “OUT, Proud and with Honor: How President Obama Re-imagined an Inclusive Military.”
“We’re going to jump into the post-apocalypse, November 8th,” quipped the panel’s moderator, Matt Thorn, as questions in the audience turned to the Trump effect on LGBT issues. Thorn is executive director of Outserve-SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network), which advocates for homosexual and “transgendered” people in the military.
“Trump will make people understand the tenuousness of all we have won,” said panelist Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman, a former Army captain who is the first self-avowed lesbian to serve in the Silver State’s legislature.
But as much as most attendees despised Trump, notwithstanding his unorthodox, pro-LGBT record as a Republican, they were hardly defeatist in their zeal to defend Obama’s “gay” and “trans” legacy. Most were bullish that much of it, especially open homosexuals in the Armed Forces, would survive “Trumpism.”
Sen. Spearman, a Democrat, said that while homosexual activists might come up empty at the federal level under Trump, they can “build a firewall” at the state level. She urged all 50 states to pass pro-transgender “gender identity” nondiscrimination legislation.
Like others at the LGBT Leaders conference, the Nevada legislator vowed to aggressively fight conservatives on “religious liberty” bills.
“When you start talking about ‘freedom of religion’ [legislation], that starts at the state level — and you need to fight that like the plague!” she said. “If it’s there, then try to get it repealed.”
Another panelist, Army SPC Shane Bagwell, an open homosexual and prospective JAG (Judge Advocate General’s Corps) lawyer, said under Trump, “My personal policy about how to deal with [anti-LGBT] pushback is: I personally am going to be more open, I’m gonna be louder, I’m gonna be gay-er, I’m going do whatever I can do to make sure that people know [that] we’re here, we’re serving.”
“Go kicking and screaming if people try to repeal any [LGBT] rights. Don’t stop fighting,” Bagwell advised the audience.
Such defiance is what launched the modern “gay” movement in its militant, post-Stonewall infancy in the 1970s, and doing battle with conservatives — routinely demonized as “haters” and “bigots” — is what fuels it to this day. (A popular campaign slogan among pro-Hillary Clinton homosexual voters was “Love Trumps Hate.”)
Despite being dismayed by the election — one LGBT lawyer at the conference called it a “national tragedy” — homosexual activists are buoyed by polls showing that younger generations of Americans generally support “gay rights” at much higher levels than their elders. They also cite the ambivalence of many libertarian-minded Republicans toward reversing same-sex “marriage” and confronting the LGBTQ agenda.
Then there is the vocal “Gays For Trump” movement, which is touting his pro-“gay” record and pressing him to be a pro-homosexual GOP trailblazer. Trump once enthusiastically supported homosexual activism as a “civil rights” issue, and he even held up a “gay” activist “rainbow flag” (with the words “LGBTs for Trump”) at a Colorado rally on Halloween.
Obama: LGBT hero
Obama’s relentless “gay/transgender” crusade helped him become a hero to the homosexual and transgender lobbies while aggravating large swaths of Middle America. His success in pushing through a far-left social agenda was due in no small part to the timidity (some social conservatives would say cowardice) of congressional Republicans, who have steadily abandoned their principled opposition to homosexualism as a political issue.
Still, the federal gravy train is ending for the overwhelmingly Democratic network of LGBTQ activists, and they know it.
“This administration has been fabulous in many ways. … I think we realize that more and more,” said Michael Guest, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania (appointed by President Bush in 2001), at an opening-day panel titled “Around the World in 90 Minutes.”
“The last eight years we’ve been going gangbusters,” agreed Ted Osius, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, speaking via Skype at the same panel. Along with Osius, former ambassador Guest and Ambassabor Brewster, three other openly homosexual diplomats spoke at the panel:
- Todd Larson, Senior LGBT Coordinator, US AID (Agency for International Development); appointed by Obama;
- Ambassador Rufus Gifford (Denmark); appointed by Obama;
- Special LGBT Envoy Randy Berry; appointed by Obama.
The creation of Berry’s position in 2015 — with its specific mission of promoting homosexual and transgender “rights” abroad — is one of Obama’s many LGBT “firsts.” It is unknown whether President-elect Trump will keep the LGBT envoy position, although a former spokesman for Trump, Jason Miller, said in response to conservatives calling for a reversal of Obama’s pro-“gay” foreign policy: “To think that discrimination of any kind will be condoned or tolerated in a Trump administration is simply absurd.”
Politico, in an article headlined “Gay diplomats cling to signs of hope under Trump,” reported that “Miller’s comment was so definitive that the State Department itself highlighted it.” Nevertheless, social liberals do not take it as a favorable sign that Trump has already broken precedent by asking all politically-appointed U.S. Ambassadors to step down Jan. 20, without a grace period, the New York Times reported.
Homosexual diplomats: Don’t reverse course
Ambassabor Osius, who is Harvard educated and speaks and writes Vietnamese fluently, lives with his “husband” Clayton Bond, their two adopted young children, and his mother at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi. He reminded the ambassadors’ panel audience of about 100 that in 2001, newly elected President George W. Bush “didn’t go backwards” by reversing predecessor Bill Clinton’s pro-homosexual policies after taking office.
“We must keep moving forward. … There is no turning back,” Osius said.
The panelists were united in the opinion that the State Department is institutionally very sympathetic to the LGBTQ agenda, and will strongly resist socially conservative changes if demanded by Trump.
“Some of these [pro-homosexual] things are dyed into the fabric of the State Department. … They are very hard to unravel. … It would look bad for [Trump]” to reverse course, former ambassador Guest said hopefully.
Nevertheless, the days of unfettered leftism are ending at State, as well as at other federal agencies like HUD, USAID, DOT (Transportation), Education, DOJ (Justice) and HHS (Health & Human Services).
The Obama administration has used all these agencies — and smaller sub-bureaucracies unknown to most Americans — to finance LBGTQ activism and enforce a pro-homosexual, pro-transgender orthodoxy throughout the federal government and upon the nation.
Social conservatives target “sexual activists” at State Department
After eight years of being subjected to Obama’s pro-homosexual and pro-abortion foreign policy, social conservatives are aiming to neutralize, and then reverse, his leftist social advocacy at the State Department. That means no more flying gay-activist “rainbow flags” at U.S. Embassies worldwide to honor tendentious LGBT celebrations like the “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia” — and returning State to its old-fashioned mission: diplomacy.
Leading the charge in Washington, D.C., is Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who wrote last month:
The Obama administration has not only sent openly gay ambassadors into countries that are culturally opposed to homosexuality, they’ve used foreign aid to force nations opposed to homosexuality to change their laws to provide special protections for such behavior. And even flown the rainbow flag at U.S. embassies around the world! Equally, the Obama State Department under Hillary Clinton also promoted abortion, declaring reproductive healthcare a basic human right.
Foreign officials have complained about the strong arming by the State Department to forcing them to accept its liberal view on social issues. I’ve personally heard the concerns from foreign ambassadors and frequently hear from Members of Congress who have received complaints for foreign officials over how the administration has linked foreign aid to the adoption of the State Department’s LGBTQ and pro-abortion agendas.
To carry out this extreme agenda, the Obama administration has systematically filled the ranks of State with LGBTQ and abortion activists. Unless the next secretary of state is willing to resist and remove this embedded agenda, the promotion and protection of true human rights, like religious liberty, will continue to languish.
Perkins, a Trump ally who has voiced concern over the President-elect selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to head the State Department, said Trump “needs to make clear that these liberal policies will be reversed.” He is calling on Trump to “ferret out” liberal “sexual activists” and replace them with “conservatives who will ensure the State Department focuses on true international human rights like religious liberty, which is under unprecedented assault.”
That is a tall order, given State’s institutional liberal bias and the unprecedented number of openly homosexual and transgender presidential appointments under eight years of Obama’s presidency. The conference-hosting Victory Institute played a leading role in filling many of those positions, as the “gay” lobby celebrated its unprecedented clout under Obama. An incomplete list of more than 250 of the outgoing president’s LGBT appointments is found on the Victory Institute website.
Predictably, the homosexual lobby group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) accused Perkins of calling for a “purge” of “pro-LGBTQ employees” at State.
‘Gay’ Army Secretary cites LGBT momentum
Beyond replacing Obama’s LGBTQ and liberal presidential appointments, conservatives will be up in arms if President Trump does not quickly put an end to Obama’s controversial, symbolic, and sometimes “in your face” LGBTQ advocacy — like when he lit up the White House with the colors of the “rainbow flag,” celebrating the Supreme Court’s 2015 de facto imposition of homosexual “marriage” on the nation.
The Victory Institute’s presidential appointments list has made it easier for Trump to replace Obama’s homosexual and transgender bureaucrats. But it will be more difficult — if the Trump-Pence administration even considers it — to reverse Obama’s entrenched pro-LGBT personnel policies at the Pentagon.
That was the thinking at the “LGBT Leaders” conference of several activists with experience in the public policy battles over allowing open homosexuals and transsexuals in the U.S. military. Speaking at a Thursday morning conference “breakfast briefing” was Eric Fanning, whom Obama appointed last year as the first openly homosexual Secretary of the Army.
Fanning said he has “not discussed these [LGBT] issues” with the incoming transition team. But he was highly skeptical that Trump would reverse the homosexualization of the Armed Forces, which Obama proudly touts as one of his biggest accomplishments.
Fanning, a former board member of the Victory Fund and Victory Institute, predicted that Trump’s defense and foreign policy team would focus instead on the size and resourcing of the Department of Defense, and “all the many challenges around the world on national security threats and strategy.”
Commenting on a potential “pushback” in the new Trump administration against Obama’s pro-homosexual and pro-transgender personnel policies, Fanning said, “It’s hard to undo these things.”
“Having a conversation about whether someone can come into the military, whether some group can serve, is different than having them in and then saying, 'OK, you guys are out now, take off your uniform,” Fanning said.
Fanning reiterated what he said at another venue shortly after Trump’s victory, that because the military now serves a more “diverse” population, and society is rapidly changing in a pro-LGBT direction, it will be difficult to go back to even the previous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the Bush and Clinton administrations, much less an outright homosexual ban. (Under DADT, openly homosexual behaviors and declarations were banned, but homosexual-inclined servicemembers were not prosecuted if they did not reveal it.)
“I find that senior uniformed leadership, when someone's in a uniform, no matter who it is, they feel a responsibility for that person. And once the policy changes, the thinking about it changes,” Fanning said, noting the evolving acceptance of homosexual service members among Marine commanders.
While the Marines were the most strongly opposed among the five Armed Service branches to allowing open homosexuals in the military, he said, “when the decision [to repeal DADT] was made, they were the first out — the [Marine] Commandant with a video — saying anyone who wears the uniform of a Marine is a Marine, and is entitled to all respect of a Marine.”
Transgenderism in military permanent?
Fanning said acceptance of “transgendered” soldiers, too, has gained a momentum of its own — and that it would be “very disruptive to move that back.”
“It is important that the Army look like the country it is defending,” he said, echoing a “diversity” theme often employed by LGBT advocates. “We need all hands on deck.” (Curiously, the same LGBTQ movement that touts diversity targets former homosexuals and ex-transgenders for opprobrium, and has as a top priority the passage of legislative bans on pro-heterosexual change therapy for sexually confused minors.)
Unlike allowing self-avowed homosexuals in the military, a top Obama campaign promise that Congress passed in 2010, Obama Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s June 2016 order allowing openly “transgender” (gender-confused) service members was never acted on legislatively. Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed frustration that he received no advance knowledge about Carter’s order. In June, McCain promised Senate hearings on the matter, but no such hearings were held.
Fanning said a big part of why Carter “wanted to look at the transgender issue is [that] the commanders needed guidance. They needed help. They were being left to figure this out on their own. Now they have it. They're implementing it. They're moving forward.”
Regarding Secretary Carter’s “transgender” order, he said, “We figured out how to implement that.” (Fanning played a key role in advancing the “T” issue in the Pentagon, as another conference speaker would later reveal.)
Fanning warned his audience of LGBT activists that “there are ways you can tweak any policy, to slow it, to create some friction in it, to make it more difficult, and we should be vigilant about that.” It is that powerful public policy combination of “gay” insiders working strategically with outside LGBTQ activists that is threatened by a Trump administration.
One step left to formalize full acceptance of “transgender” soldiers
At another panel focusing on LGBT defense issues, Amanda Simpson, a “male-to-female” “transgender woman” and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operation Energy Initiatives, said regarding Obama’s pro-transgender military order: “It’s done. The order has been given, let’s move on. … That’s the attitude I’ve seen [at the Pentagon].”
In a 2015 press release, the homosexual-bisexual-transgender lobby group HRC heralded Simpson’s elevation to Assistant Secretary of Defense, saying “she” remains the “highest ranking openly transgender official in the Obama administration.” Another Obama first.
Fulton, president of SPARTA, a group that fights for gender-confused individuals in the military, was not overly confident about the survival of Obama’s pro-transgender Defense policies. But regarding homosexual men, lesbians and bisexuals serving in the military, Fulton said, “Practically speaking, it’s been five years since the repeal of [DADT]. Two brigadier generals, one gay, one lesbian, pinned on a second star — were promoted to two-star general. The West Point [United States Military Academy] graduated a gay, black first captain, who’s also president of his class.”
“The toothpaste is so far out of the tube, there’s so many LGBT people serving, that to unwind it would be difficult,” she said. “There are a number of steps they could take that would make it more difficult for gay and lesbian and bisexual people to serve, but a wholesale reinstitution of either [DADT] or a ban on gay service is going to be just so practically difficult for the military that I think even the most conservative senior officers would raise objections.”
When it comes to “transgender” personnel, Fulton — a lesbian and the first open homosexual to serve on the West Point Board of Visitors — echoed Fanning, ticking off several “transgender” individuals, including a prospective drill sergeant and a “well-respected Navy officer in the Pentagon who just got promoted,” who are currently being accommodated by their service branches.
“Our fight is going to continue to be, on the basis of military readiness, that … if you don’t want to disrupt the force, if you want to keep the best people, you don’t unwind these policies,” she said. “And I think that many of our senior military leaders agree with that. We’ll see what happens in the coming days.”
No final policy on “transgender” enlistees
Fulton warned that despite Defense Secretary Carter’s pro-transgender order, “We do not have a final, final policy for accessions, which is joining the military — either enlisting or being commissioned in the military. That policy isn’t in stone yet. That’s the problem.”
“I know there are a lot of people, a lot of [LGBT] organizations, working very hard on that right now,” she said.
This begs questions like these for Trump and congressional Republicans:
- Will he stall or reverse Obama’s order in favor of “transgender” (severely gender-confused) people serving in military?
- Will he block or implement its final stage, described by Fulton, laying out a formal DoD policy of accepting out-and-proud “transgender” enlistees?
- How “disruptive” will a President Trump and Congress be willing to be in reversing Obama’s thorough going LGBTQ agenda — knowing that every step of the way LGBT activists will be accusing him of “hate” and “discrimination”?
- Or will Trump take a different path by using his power and bully pulpit to include homosexuals and the “transgendered” in his civil rights paradigm — thus breaking from the socially conservative GOP Platform?
- Will Republicans in Congress push Trump to be more conservative on the LGBT agenda, or merely follow his lead?
Time will tell.
Watch tomorrow for Part 3.