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Opinion: Latinos Should Stand in Strong Support of LGBTQ Equality

In a short Twitter burst Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender people from joining the military, arguing that medical costs associated with them is too high.

This is a disingenuous argument, since a recent analysis shows that the military spends more than $84 million dollars per year on erectile dysfunction, "10 times the cost of annual transition-related medical care for active duty transgender service members."

The struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer rights is an important part of our nation's - including Latinos' - struggle for a more fair and equal society, and Trump has shown again and again that the only equal opportunity he believes in is in his bigotry.

By now, it is beyond obvious that the Trump administration has centered its core principles around the supremacy of an old order. At every turn when the president feels pressure, he reminds his base why it needs to support him, stoking the flames of bigotry.

The president's continued failure to provide any substantial leadership in stewarding health care through Congress without breaking every single one of his promises, such as no cuts to Medicare, is a contrast in character and abilities to the successful leadership by his predecessor to pass the Affordable Care Act.

When he announced his run for the presidency, he kicked off by attacking Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers. This has been an important lure of Trump from day one.

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When Trump faced his first Republican challenge in the Iowa Caucus he announced his plan to ban all Muslims from traveling into the country. When Trump was running out of gas and needed to wrestle away the support of evangelical whites, he said that women who have abortions need to be punished.

This pattern has been consistent throughout his run for president and it has been the hallmark of his presidency so far. His appointment to attorney general of Jeff Sessions, who seeks to expand the war on drugs, is a renewed assault on the African-American community.

It dates back to President Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy to win over more whites from the Jim Crow infrastructure of the South that was being dismantled by the Democrats.

Trump's appointment of Kris Kobach to the sham committee on voter fraud, his multiple executive orders banning people from Muslim countries, his ban on funding for any international organization overseas that educates women about family planning, and his assault on immigrants, all originate from a single source, the notion that we need to make America more like it was in the past.

This means turning the clock back on the perceived grievances of his constituents: that whatever gains minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community have made is somehow at their expense.

When Trump reaffirms that view with a ban on trans persons from the military, he is also reaffirming the view that any deviation from the past must be rolled back, and the progress Latinos have made fits squarely in its cross-hairs.

Tom Perez, the leader of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted his support of transpeople immediately after the president’s announcement. Recently, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., announced his support of a bill that would mandate the inclusion of LGBTQ people into the national census. These Latinos get it, but there is still much work to be done, and needs to be done within the Latino community itself.

While our experiences as human beings are complex, and the background of abuses against LGBTQ people have distinct histories, our sense of identity and sexuality intersect at many points which should compel us to see these struggles for equality as the same struggle. When Trump assaults one, we should see it as an assault on us all.

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