After Donald Trump said that the fight for marriage equality was “settled,” former Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) senior campaign strategist and MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt asserted that the fight was “over” and that “gay American[s]” had “won.” Schmidt ignored Trump's extreme anti-LGBTQ Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon's stated positions on the issue as well as the countless other struggles LGBTQ people in the United States face beyond gay marriage such as harassment, depression, and suicide.
Pence pushed what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called “the most aggressive pro-LGBT-discrimination bill in the country” and after public outcry had to “really embarrassingly walk it back.” Pence is notorious for his lengthy history of anti-LGBTQ activism. In 2000, Pence proposed that money allotted to those with HIV/AIDS should be routed to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” also known as conversion or reparative therapy. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the United States, there is “some significant evidence that [reparative therapy] is also harmful to LGBTQ people.” Meanwhile, during Bannon's time as chairman of Breitbart Media, the “platform for the alt-right,” the website posted a series of anti-gay headlines and articles. Bannon also referred to women from the Seven Sisters schools, which are historic women's colleges, as a “bunch of dykes.”
In addition to a White House filling up with extreme anti-gay advisers, LGBTQ people living in the United States are not only concerned about retaining marriage equality. LGB youth attempt suicide at a rate of four times greater than straight youth, and one quarter of transgender youth have attempted suicide. LGBT youth are disproportionately homeless, more likely to experience a mental health condition like depression, and experience high rates of bullying. From the November 15 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
STEVE SCHMIDT: So you see all these Republican politicians asked awkwardly yesterday about Donald Trump saying on 60 Minutes, the gay marriage fight is over. Donald Trump blew the whistle on Sunday night on the culture wars. Basically said it's over. It's done. So if you're a gay American this morning, it's over. You won. You have a Republican in the White House, and there's no more fighting about this issue.
JOE SCARBOROUGH (HOST): But if are a Republican that this is a key issue for you, and you've campaigned on it 10 times to keep getting re-elected, suddenly you're looking at Donald Trump saying, he's running my party?
SCHMIDT: Yeah, not any more. Every one of those people from Mike Pence on down, their silence was acquiescence to that position. It's over.