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If Jared and Ivanka support us, they need to show the work

by Jeremy Hooper

Jared and Ivanka: If you support us, show the work

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both of whom are universally seen as influential figures in the President of the United State’s life and decision-making, are getting much credit in the press for their supposed role in killing a proposed Executive Order that would’ve reversed LGBT protections put in place by the Obama administration. And that’s good. Great, even. But it’s also not enough to earn praise.

Let me start by saying I do believe that the president’s daughter and her husband, now a special advisor to the president, are personally pro-LGBT. There are multiple sources claiming them to be. They both come from lines of work, fashion, and media that tend to feature outsized support for the LGBT community. Plus Kushner, a lifelong Democrat, was involved in the Human Rights Campaign’s “Americans For Marriage Equality” campaign. Reasonable assumption, as well as anecdotes from acquaintances who know them, tell me they are most likely with us on most, if not all, LGBT rights.

That said, I am not willing to applaud them as LGBT rights supporters unless and until they take actual public stands in support of actual LGBT rights.

Because let’s be clear: Simply stopping a less-than-LGBT-friendly team from rolling back an Obama era policy is not what constitutes an ally in the year 2017. The rules of support have exceeded that low bar.

There was a time in history when we applauded a public figure for standing against a proposed amendment banning marriage equality or using words like “tolerance” in association with our rights. That ship has sailed. Sunken, even. Nowadays, it’s not enough to just stand against a bad idea—you have to tell us what you’re for. A supporter doesn’t just stop a bad needle from popping a good bubble—a supporter moves the needle even further down the still uncharted path toward progress.

When President Trump appears in the Oval Office with his team, that team includes Mike Pence, one of the most anti-LGBT cogressmen and governors of the 21st century, and now Vice President of the United States. That team also includes Steve Bannon, who gave an award to the star of Duck Dynasty for doing nothing more than making anti-LGBT comments. That team includes Reince Priebus, who used his time as head of the RNC to keep the party publicly opposed to LGBT rights. The team that surrounds this president, who himself stands opposed to marriage equality and other LGBTS rights, is a team that has never shied away from public statements in opposition to basic fairness for LGBT Americans.

Jared and Ivanka are also key members of the team. If they want the glowing press and praise that comes from being the LGBT supporters on this team, then they must act like LGBT supporters.

We are not to be whispered about behind the scenes. Our rights, so fundamental to the previous administration’s goals, are not political footballs, and the team that thinks they are doesn’t get to score points for simply not fumbling the ball. We are not in a place in our history where we are going to pretend that marginalizing us is the default position and that anyone who dares to show basic decency deserves outsized praise. We have fought too hard and we have won too much. We are not diminishing our worth, nor are we diminishing the criteria for calling oneself a true ally.

With a team like the Trumps, there are surely going to be countless opportunities for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to stand up and act like true supporters. I, for one, am 100% willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and to applaud them when they have the principled fortitude to speak up and speak out against bad ideas.

I am not, however, willing to grade on a curve. After all, these two worked to get President Trump into office despite the anti-LGBT judges he promised to nominate, the anti-LGBT figures he promised to appoint, and the anti-LGBT ideas he considers good for America. To counter all that, we are going to need some bona fide positive statements from Ivanka and Jared, not just some behind-the-scenes pleas for base-level decency.


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