The results of the 2016 presidential election brought about strong emotions over the future of minority rights. Many members of the LGBTQ community are concerned with Mike Pence being so close to the Oval Office. Reagan Allen // DN
LGBTQ community fears Trump, Pence administration
The outcome of the 2016 election has brought strong feelings about the future of minority rights, including those in the LGBTQ community.
After the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges granted gay people the right to marry in 2015, many assumed it was one of the biggest steps in the fight for LGBTQ rights. This is not necessarily the case, said Maddy Isenbarger, a senior film major.
“Just because we got it passed doesn’t mean it can’t be taken away,” she said.
Isenbarger describes herself as “queer,” which is an umbrella term that refers to the entire LGBTQ community.
After Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, Isenbarger said she and some of her queer friends met up and cried together.
“Any progress we have made is in jeopardy right now,” Isenbarger said. “Not just because of Donald Trump, because of Mike Pence and because of Republicans' control of the House and Senate.”
The person LGBTQ people fear even more so than Trump is his vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Isenbarger said.
Mike Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
He has been an opponent of LGBTQ rights for most of his political career. He opposed the repeal of "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and has openly supported conversion therapy.
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” Pence wrote on his website during his successful run for Congress in 2000.
Kam Bontrager, a sophomore family and consumer science education major, is gay and is a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Bontrager said Trump's victory is "frightening" but he said he hopes LGBTQ individuals will be advocated for.
"My hope is for this country to heal the divide we as a society have created," Bontrager said. "We need to learn to appreciate the diversity our country has and to adapt to an ever changing society."
While members of the LGBTQ community are concerned about the Trump/Pence administration, some say Trump will not be able to easily change marriage equality.
Andy Downs, the director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, said any reversal of LGBTQ rights would be “difficult at this point.”
“The Supreme Court decision that allowed for same-sex marriage has been put behind us,” Downs said. “It doesn’t mean that other issues won't come up, but some of what people think may disappear won't disappear for legal and societal reasons.”
Public opinion on same-sex marriage has grown in recent years. A study by the Pew Research Center showed that 57 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage in 2001. In 2016, a Pew study showed that a majority of Americans — 55 percent — now support same-sex marriage.
At the height of the transgender bathroom controversy, Trump did say that former Olympian and reality television star Caitlin Jenner could use whatever bathroom she wanted at his properties.
However, many members of the LGBTQ community are more concerned about Pence being so close to the Oval Office and remain unconvinced.
Marian Fant, a sophomore public communications major, is bisexual and said she believes the LGBTQ community has a long way to go in achieving equal rights.
Fant said protections for employees, hate crime laws and the process of changing one's gender are just a few of the things LGBTQ individuals deserve.
Like many other members of the LGBTQ community, Fant was upset by the outcome of the election and admitted to crying after seeing the results.
"The whole 'Make America Great Again' ... America was never that great for minorities," Fant said. "When we hear 'Make America Great Again,' that doesn't include us."