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Shocked and Disappointed, LGBTQ Activists Vow to Fight On

“Last night’s results are a shocking disappointment,” Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, told NBC OUT. And he’s not alone in this view.

Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event New York City
President-elect Donald Trump, with his family, addresses supporters at an election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown November 8, 2016 in New York City, New York. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post - Getty Images

America's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community was stunned by Republican Donald Trump’s defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential race. Both a recent NBC News poll and Tuesday’s exit polls showed the traditionally loyal Democratic voting bloc largely favoring Clinton, and news of Trump’s victory came as a devastating blow to most -- though not all -- in the community.

“While he lost the popular vote, a man who has repeatedly maligned and attacked all minorities was elected President. It is a reminder of how much work we must do to ensure full lives and legal equality for all Americans,” Sgro said.

Eliel Cruz, a Latino LGBTQ activist in New York, echoed Sgro’s sentiment and called Trump’s victory “maddening.”

“I’m discouraged in America’s – particularly white America’s – inability to choose leaders that represent, and look out for, all of America. In this devastation, I recognize the resiliency of LGBT people. I remember our LGBT elders who have lost their lives for the rights I have today. And I hold to my belief that eventually, we will overcome Trump’s hate.”

Newly engaged Jonathan Lovitz, who serves as the senior vice president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, told NBC OUT the election results impacted him on a deeply personal level.

“I watched the election results holding hands with my new fiancé, feeling genuinely terrified our marriage may never actually happen,” he said. Trump has gone on record saying he would "strongly consider" appointing Supreme Court justices committed to overturning the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

But like many of the other LGBTQ community members NBC OUT spoke with, Lovitz vowed to fight on.

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City
Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

“I refuse to let our progress be taken away. Rather than feel broken, we as LGBT people and allies have to be more visible, more vocal and more engaged than ever before,” he added.

Brian Silva, Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA, said the results are a call for the community to both defend the progress we’ve made so far -- and reflect.

"We must take time to come together as a community to feel, and to support each other. Then we must listen and analyze this election. And then, as we have always done, we will rise and continue to fight for fairness, justice and equality."

Transgender activist Tiq Milan, an LGBTQ organizer for the Clinton campaign, expressed disappointment with the election results and encouraged the community not to “let the last eight years of progress be undone.”

“I'm hurt by the outcome of this election, and embarrassed by what this says about the character of the United States to the global population,” Milan told NBC OUT. “My only hope is that this will be a catalyst towards deep organizing and some serious soul searching.

Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, criticized the track record of Trump and his running mate Mike Pence when it comes to LGBTQ issues and rhetoric but challenged Trump to make good on his victory speech promise.

“President-elect Trump recently posed on stage with a rainbow flag, and in his victory speech last night, he pledged to be ‘president for all Americans.’ It is now our job to make sure he lives up to that promise.”

Not all members of the community, however, were disappointed in Trump’s victory. While they did not endorse Trump for president, the Log Cabin Republicans, the country’s largest LGBTQ conservative group, said in a statement posted Wednesday that they “stand united behind our next president, optimistic for the future, and committed to ‘Make America Great Again.’”

"Mr. Trump’s unprecedented and repeated overtures to “the LGBTQ community” were invariably lauded by our organization, and we look forward to seeing those words turn to action in a Trump administration," the statement continued. "We likewise stand firm in our unwavering commitment to working with our country’s president-elect to ensure the historic advances in LGBT freedom we have fought for and secured will continue."

Ensuring that the historic progress made by the community is secured, is something LGBTQ people on both sides of the political aisle can agree on.

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