Over the last several months, Americans have been fighting for or against the candidates they want to see win the primaries and ultimately the Presidency. For most LGBT individuals, this has been a choice between two pro-equality candidates: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The ultimate unifier has been and will continue to be that whoever wins must defeat Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
Even before his recent run as a politician, Trump was not a friend to women or the queer community. His very public insulting of Rosie O’Donnell and support of traditional marriage made it clear he wasn’t going to fight for us in any capacity. He openly opposes a woman’s right to choose, even suggesting punishment for women who have abortions, and says that as President, he would defund Planned Parenthood, a truly necessary resource that 2.5 million women and men utilize for sexual and reproductive health care.
Donald Trump is also well-documented in his racism, both outward towards immigrants and inherent in the way he speaks about people of color. The sweeping statements he makes about minorities are what make him a clear threat to anyone who isn’t white, male and rich, which is why it’s hard to believe that there would be anyone, much less LGBT women, who would think of voting to put this man in charge.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Yet, there are.
I found two out lesbian Trump supporters willing to share their thoughts on why they have voted for Trump in their primaries and will continue to vote for him in the Presidential election. And they are not alone—when I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of any lesbian or bi-identified Trump supporters I might be able to speak with for this article, at least a handful emerged from friends and acquaintances, and they cannot be the only few.
What is clear from both women’s answers are that they are less concerned with rights as a gay person or a woman and more focused on other facets of Trump’s platform. Essentially, they are willing to discard his othering for his businessman demeanor, percieved passionate patriotism and surprisingly, his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
While many of us do not agree with their stances, I ask that you respect these women and do not personally attack them, as they were kind enough to let us use their full names. My hope is that from this we can glean some insight into why women of our community would vote for Donald Trump, because, terrifyingly, there is something about him that is working. As my Gay and Lesbian History professor used to say about Fred Phelps, always know what your enemy is up to. I think the same applies with Donald Trump.
Alyx Perna is 29 and lives in Laurel, Mississippi. While she says she has never been political, she is registered as a Democrat (“based on how I was raised”).
Alexis Howes is 29 and lives in Georgetown, Delaware where she co-owns a dog grooming business with her mom. She is a lesbian and a registered Republican.
AfterEllen.com: When did you first become a Trump supporter? What was it specifically that interested you in his campaign for President?
Alyx Perna: I first became a Trump supporter back in January when he came to Biloxi, MS for a rally. I decided to go to the rally just because I thought it would be cool. I ended up really liking him and started to support his campaign. There was nothing specific that made me like him, I was just overall interested in his passion about what he spoke on. I like that he’s an American wanting to make the country better and not a politician.
Alexis Howes: I was pretty much a Trump supporter when he first announced his campaign in 2015. I agree with most things Trump stands for. The biggest ones for me are border immigration and border patrol. I personally have no problems with people moving to the United States as long as they do it in the legal manner. My grandmother is Korean and she made the steps to come here and became a citizen. Also, I was in the Air Force for six years and deployed one time, so Donald Trump’s ideas and support for Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Veterans [are] general is important to me. I agree with his views on factories should be here instead of other places such as China. I try to only buy USA-made products as much as I can.
One last one that interests me is taxes. I have to pay quarterly taxes and the more money I make the more my taxes goes up. This upsets me, because how am I suppose to get ahead if my taxes double every year because my business is growing?
AE. In general, LGBTs tend to be liberals/Democrats because they find that these politicians are more equality-friendly. How do you feel about being a minority among the LGBT community, and have you lost any friends during this political season seeing as how passionate people tend to be about this year’s race?
AP: I have always considered myself a Democrat, but I have a strong interest in Trump and I am not a fan of the Democratic candidates is this race. I understand that being in the LGBT community we are a minority, but above being a lesbian, I am also an American and I want what’s best for the country I live in as well.
I have lost many friends over this issue and I find it very troubling. We are a community that is fighting for equality and to not be judged; yet as a lesbian Trump supporter, I have been judged by my “friends” in the LGBT community.
AH: I find that others in the LGBT community to be interested in what I have to say about politics being that there are less of us Republicans in the community and very shocked to know that I am a Republican.
No, I have not lost any friends due to my political views. I’m not typically rude about my views, and if a Democrat wants to have an educated discussion, I will list to their views without judgment. However, strangers have said that I’m a “bad lesbian” because I am conservative.
AE: As someone who is voting for Trump, how do you feel about the Bernie/Hilary in-fighting that you see on the left?
AP: Honestly, I haven’t really followed much on the whole Bernie/Hillary stuff this year. Like I said, I’ve never been very political I just had a special interest in Trump.
AH: Well, the Bernie/Hillary fight has been interesting for sure. I’m not a Hillary supporter due to her views and connections with Obama so I would have liked to see Bernie win the delegates.
AE: Is there anything that Hilary/Bernie/Democrats do, plans they have or points they make that you do support or agree with? What kinds of things do you find yourself most interested in when you’re voting for a President?
AP: The only thing I really like about the Democratic Party is the fact that most of them are equality friendly other than that I don’t really have many views on that. I just believe in a lot of things that Trump supports.
AH: In general, gay marriage is something I support, so that is something that Democrats support. Taxes, Veteran affairs, Immigration, National Security and issues with the state services are things that I look for when choosing my presidential candidate.
AE: How do you feel Donald Trump will do for women and LGBTs should he be elected?
AP: I don’t feel that Trump will treat women and LGBT’s much different than everyone else. He has stated several times that his views on the LGBT community are evolving and I truly believe that. I don’t think he hates us nor do I feel like he will do anything to harm us.
AH: I’m not sure that Donald Trump will do too much with the LGBT community, but that is not my number one worry when it comes to our country. I think there are more issues we need to get fixed.
AE: Is there anything else you’d like to add about Trump and his campaign or who he is as a person/leader, or about why you are choosing to vote Trump?
AP: I just feel like Trump is the best candidate in this year’s election to help America and the economy get back to where it should be. He is a concerned American and not a politician just looking for credentials. He wants to make a difference because he too is a concerned American and wants to help the country he lives in.
AH: I find Trump to be strong and not someone who would back down and I think we need that right now.