The orange stripe in the gay flag symbolizes healing. At this rate, Donald Trump will be claiming that it stands for him by the end of the week.
This Tuesday, two days after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, the presumptive GOP nominee inexplicably thanked the LGBT community on Twitter. It didn’t take long for LGBT Twitter users to respond in kind with the hashtag #LGBTQHatesTrumpParty.
Because while most Americans don’t like Donald Trump, LGBT people despise him.
Based on his tweet, Trump seemed to be under the impression that the mass shooting had convinced a sizable number of LGBT people to support his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.
There’s more proof than a few thousand tweets that LGBT Americans loathe the Republican candidate for president.
According to May Gallup polling, Trump has a favorability rating of just 18 percent among LGBT people as compared to Hillary Clinton’s 54 percent rating with the same demographic. This gap between them is one of the widest, surpassed only by Trump’s large deficits among non-white and Muslim voters.
Another May poll indicated that more than four out of five LGBT voters would rather pull the lever for Clinton.
And yet Trump continues to claim on the campaign trail that Clinton is “no friend of LGBT Americans” and that he’ll do more to keep them “safe from radical Islam.”
At a campaign rally in Atlanta on Wednesday, he claimed that “the LGBT community, the gay community, the lesbian community—they are so much in favor of what I’ve been saying over the last three or four days.”
In true Trump fashion, his sudden concern for the safety LGBT Americans comes after years of mocking them and opposing their rights. Indeed, the LGBT animus against Trump runs so deep because it has been so long in the making.
It’s easy to list off Trump’s most memorable displays of homophobia. For example, in a 2011 New York Times interview, Trump compared his stance on same-sex marriage to his “traditionalist” attitudes about golf putter size. The bizarre analogy implied that gay men and lesbians were “weird.”
“[A] lot of people are switching to these really long putters,” he said, “Very unattractive. It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And I hate it. I am a traditionalist.”
In 2014, as Gawker reminded its readers on Tuesday, Trump reacted badly when Michael Sam made NFL history as the first openly gay NFL draftee. He had some particularly choice thoughts about the celebratory kiss Sam shared with then-boyfriend Vito Cammisano, telling Fox & Friends that the football player was “really going at it.”
And, in what should by now be familiar rhetoric, Trump complained that the “country is going to hell” because homophobes were “afraid to express their own thoughts” about the lip-lock because we’re too “politically correct.”
And while Trump’s long-running habit of insulting Rosie O’Donnell has primarily been seen as misogynistic—especially after he doubled down by calling her a “pig” at the first GOP primary debate—the comedian’s sexual orientation has also played an undeniable role in Trump’s bullying of her.
Trump seems to have taken a special interest over the years in O’Donnell’s love life. In 2011, after she got engaged to Michelle Rounds, Trump sarcastically tweeted that he felt sorry for her “new partner in love whose parents are devastated at the thought of their daughter being with Rosie—a true loser.”
And back in 2006—when Trump told ET that O’Donnell was “disgusting, both inside and out” and that she “talks like a truck driver”—he actually threatened to send a buddy over to steal the comedian’s girlfriend.
“Rosie’s a person that’s very lucky to have her girlfriend, and she better be careful or I’ll send one of my friends over to pick up her girlfriend,” he said. “Why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice?”
Autostraddle Editor-in-Chief Marie Lyn Bernard noted that this attack, like many others, was “tinged with [a] particular brand of homophobic misogyny” based on O’Donnell’s gender presentation.
Trump hasn’t been content to keep his offensive comments confined to the first two letters of the LGBT acronym, either. In August of 2012, he went after Arianna Huffington’s now-dissolved marriage to Michael Huffington, who came out as bisexual all the way back in 1998.
“[Arianna Huffington] is unattractive both inside and out,” he tweeted. “I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man—he made a good decision.”
In less than 140 characters, he managed to insult Huffington’s appearance, repeat a rumor about their divorce, and invoke the stereotype that bisexual people are unfaithful because of their orientation.
At least one transgender woman has also found herself on the receiving end of Trump’s insulting word salads, too.
In a 2012 interview with Barbara Walters, Trump openly floated a conspiracy theory about the name of transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova, who was temporarily kicked out of the Trump-run competition after organizers discovered that she had undergone sex reassignment surgery.
During the interview, Trump held up a piece of paper on which he had written “Jennatal” and rambled, “I looked at her name—and somebody brought this up to me—Jennatal. Those are the first letters of her name. And it’s ‘genital.’ And I’m saying to myself, ‘Hmm... that’s strange. Could there be an ulterior motive?”
Trump supported Talackova’s readmission into the pageant but his strange “Jennatal” theory did not go unnoticed by the transgender community.
At this point, there’s little use trying to pin down Donald Trump’s inscrutable and ever-shifting policy positions on LGBT issues. Back in April, for example, he adopted a surprisingly progressive stance on transgender bathroom use before walking back to a milquetoast state’s rights position. Somewhere around that time, Caitlyn Jenner paid a visit to the Trump Tower women’s room after he gave her express permission to do so.
The Trump campaign has been somewhat murky on same-sex marriage, too. In January, he told Fox News that he would “strongly consider” appointing Supreme Court judges to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. But as Politico reported Wednesday, some gay Republican advocates now see a Trump White House as an opportunity to soften their party’s stance on same-sex marriage.
While it may not be certain what a President Trump would do on LGBT issues, the things that he has said about LGBT people are crystal clear. It seems unlikely that a demographic that already hates him—and that he has spent years offending—would turn to him now for protection.