Donald Trump is falling further and further behind in the presidential polls – both nationally and in the most significant swing-state polls. It looks more and more likely that the Democrats can take back control of the U.S. Senate and hold onto control of the U.S. House. Gaslighting the country, lying about Trump’s failed policies and health, and stoking racial division and hate just isn’t working for the Republican National Committee this election cycle. So, what does the GOP do to get their voters to the polls? Attack the LGBTQ community.
Republicans have utilized this strategy nationally for decades, and it’s exactly what we witnessed in New Mexico last week.
Democratic candidate Roger Montoya, who would be the first openly gay man to serve in the New Mexico House of Representatives (representing District 40), publicly took responsibility for a choice he made almost 40 years ago to participate in an adult film. I commend Roger for being honest, for turning that experience into a lifetime of work ensuring New Mexico’s youth have opportunities and support, and for dedicating his adult life to serving Northern New Mexico and making it a better place to live.
However, the New Mexico Republican Party quickly went on the attack because they want to make sure you think what Roger did is a big gay deal. Did you hear the dog whistle?
In a news release, N.M. GOP Chairman Steve Pearce called on Roger to drop out of his race, saying that his behavior was “irresponsible and reckless” and “unbecoming of any candidate or elected official.” Compare that to 2016, when then-Congressman Steve Pearce continued to support candidate Donald Trump in his presidential run despite multiple credible allegations of sexual assault against Trump and released audio of Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitalia.
While deeply disappointing, it’s not surprising to see Pearce’s homophobic hypocrisy as these sort of attacks are happening all across the country in the 2020 election cycle, and it’s at the core of what the Republican National Committee stands for. The very text of the 2020 RNC platform includes multiple explicit attacks on the LGBTQ community.
Specifically, the 2020 RNC platform supports legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination, condemns marriage equality, calls for overturning the U.S. Supreme Court case that guaranteed a right to marriage for same-sex couples and it supports Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving openly in the military. Don’t want to take my word for it? Go to the RNC website and verify for yourself: gop.com/platform.
These policies are cruel, ill-informed and dangerous. They contribute to bullying of LGBTQ youth and increased rates of depression, suicide and substance abuse, and they lead directly to discrimination and hate crimes against the queer community.
Fortunately, there are silver linings to be had here.
The first is that despite the homophobic attack against him, Roger is likely to win his election and be sworn in as the first openly gay man in the New Mexico House of Representatives. The larger, rainbow-filled silver lining is that voters are no longer buying the GOP’s go-to hate parade against the LGBTQ community.
New Mexicans are voting in favor of candidates who support inclusion, fairness and equality for all regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and they are rejecting candidates who support discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ policies.
LGBTQ New Mexicans live in both urban and rural communities. We are your neighbors and your co-workers. We live down the street and we sit a few pews away from you at church. We are your sisters and brothers, your cousins, aunts and uncles. We are your sons and daughters, and your fathers and mothers.
It’s long past time to stop using the LGBTQ community as scapegoats for partisan gain.