Write On My Heart
Defending LGBTQ Rights in the Age of Trump

Written by Jordan Kwong

Just days after the 2016 American presidential election, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow spoke about Mike Pence (then Vice President-elect) and his history of anti-LGBTQ policies. She described how as the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence passed a law making it a felony to give false information on a marriage application, which only provides space for a man and a woman and is impossible for a same sex couple to answer truthfully. A violation of the law is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10 000.

Rachel Maddow was visibly emotional as she explained: “You could go to jail for the crime of being a gay couple that had the temerity to apply for a marriage license.”

Mike Pence is now Vice President in a Trump White House that is overrun with bigotry. Trump has vowed to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill which allows businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ patrons based on their “religious belief or moral conviction.” His administration includes cosponsors of the bill, who have also voted against extending hate-crimes protections to LGBTQ people. And, once again, there’s Mike Pence, who supports diverting funding from HIV and AIDS programs to organizations which practice conversion therapy.

As a queer Canadian, witnessing the political turmoil unfolding in America is horrifying: it is impossible to not be affected by the seismic waves from the earthquake next door. So what do we do now?

To begin, we can donate to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (ccla.org). They are a nonprofit organization that fights for civil rights, human rights, and democracy in Canada. They do the same kind of work as the American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org) – donate to them too!

Volunteer or donate to Qmunity (qmunity.ca), an LGBTQ community centre located here in Vancouver. They provide counseling, workshops, social and support groups, and educational resources that are vital to improving queer and trans lives.

Volunteer or donate to the Vancouver Pride Society (vancouverpride.ca). Because producing inclusive events is important, and the Pride Parade and Festival is awesome.

Create art. Whatever your medium, art is cathartic and impactful and radical in its authenticity. It is a beautiful objection in the face of oppression.

Attend marches that protest against the threats posed by the Trump administration. The Women’s March On Washington in Vancouver was an amazing show of solidarity.

Be there for your LGBTQ friends and family. Especially in light of the recent rollback of transgender students’ bathroom rights. If you see a trans person being harassed in the bathroom or elsewhere, be the ally that steps in and shuts that down.

The unusual cruelty of Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ policies will one day be looked at with unanimous disbelief. For now, the fight for civil rights continues. They try to make us second class citizens because they forgot that love is first. We remember because it is written on our hearts.