“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
This quote is not from the 1950s nor is it from someone universally shunned by society. It’s from Mike Pence’s campaign website when he ran for Congress back in 2000 (peep the terrible web layout and design). It would be one thing if this quote represented the one and only backward, misguided, violent ideology he had against the LGBTQ community, but, unfortunately for anyone within his judicial reach, it is just one of many.
Most of the 2016 election has been centered on Trump. Even when people talk about Hillary and her qualifications, it’s often Trump-centric in that she is well suited for the job because he is not. It’s problematic, because Hillary isn’t deserving of the Presidency because he is not. She's deserving of the presidency because she is the most experienced and qualified. It’s the difference between the history books saying, ‘Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 election because her opponent is an imbecile,’ and ‘Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 election through her preparation and commitment to the people.’
Perhaps the most disturbing result of this ‘Trump Effect’ is that Mike Pence, his Vice Presidential candidate, has, for too many years, slid under the radar of mainstream controversy. In fact, it is fair to suggest that the spectacle of Trump has made it possible for Mike Pence to appear like the calm and reasonable one. His performance in the Vice Presidential debate was undoubtedly bolstered in comparison to the many debates by Trump, because at the bare minimum, Pence knows how to string a sentence together.
In many ways, Pence is more dangerous than Trump in that he’s not just talking about oppressive legislation, he’s actually fought for and enacted it himself. He’s the action to Trump’s words, but a lot of media is so distracted with Trump that we haven’t gotten the same, much-needed level of criticism of his running mate, who would be one person away from the presidency.
Pence’s track record and stances are disturbing. He is, by far, the worst type of candidate for LGBTQ equality and will undoubtedly try to set the country's clock back by a couple of decades. Here are just a few of the receipts, in case there are people still questioning the legitimacy of the Trump/Pence threat against queer people.
1. ) He supports conversion therapy
There are few things in the world more dangerous for queer people than conversion therapy. At its roots, the practice suggests that non-cis, non-heterosexual identities are a choice and therefore a thing that can be unchosen. This belief is one of the largest social and historical ways that people empower hatred and violence against queer people.
His suggestion at the beginning of this article proposes, quite clearly, that he wants to take away funding from HIV prevention and put it towards conversion therapy. He has yet to step away from this belief and has given no sign that he plans on changing.
It’s probably silly to state the obvious that conversion therapy is dangerous, but it’s so dangerous that it’s worth saying anyway. He could cause immeasurable pain that will ripple out for generations in this country, and the world at large.
2.) He doesn’t believe queer people can experience hate crimes
Ridiculous, right? How can a person even think to argue that queer people aren’t attacked on the basis of their sexuality or gender? But argue it he does. He has consistently opposed adjusting national definitions of and legislation around hate crime to include queer people. On his 2000 website, and again without any public change of heart, he stated, “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a “discreet and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”
This is horrifying, considering (among many things) that trans women of color remain a prominent target of oppression and homicide for their identity. We as a community needed the protection of hate-crime laws since they were first passed way back in 1981 in Washington and Oregon.
Pence opposed the passing of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and, having no legal objections, decided to complain about how it forwarded ideologies he didn’t (and still doesn’t) agree with. He said, specifically, “The president has used his position as commander in chief to advance a radical social agenda, when he should have used it to advance legislation that would unequivocally support our troops.”
3.) He has never believed in marriage equality
Back in 2006, Pence supported a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. He referred to this amendment as, “God’s plan,” and added, “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
4.) He also wanted to jail same-sex couples that applied for a marriage license
Sounds like something out of a movie, right? It’s not, though. Back in 2013, Pence signed a bill for Indiana that made it a felony for same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license. You read that right: he signed a bill that made applying for a marriage license a crime.
The crime was punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Oh, and the clergy and license issuer would be fined as well.
There are even more reasons why Pence is so dangerous. Look here, here, here, or here, and across all of the articles the message is always the same—Pence is a radical, dangerous candidate for LGBTQ equality. It’s about time we let Pence know that we see him and that after this election, like Trump, we won't let him get away with all of the hate.