LGBTQ Trump supporters may seem like unicorns, but they do exist.
In fact, according to exit polling, 14 percent of our community voted for him in the 2016 election. While that number is down from what the GOP managed to take in previous presidential elections, where they managed to absorb between the low to high 20 percent range, it still represents a not so insignificant number of people.
Speaking with several LGBTQ individuals who maintain support for President Trump, as we hit the first 100 days in office benchmark, a few things became clear.
For one, they know they baffle many of you, and being both openly LGBTQ and a Trump backer can be a difficult stance to maintain.
For some, that conflict has been more pronounced than for others. Arguably, it hit hardest this election season for Dewey Lainhart and his partner at the time, Cody Moore. An interview for The Wall Street Journal with the pair at a Trump rally in Cincinnati went viral, resulting in a barrage of insults and even death threats.
“You know, there was a lot of death threats, a lot of hate mail,” Lainhart said, reflecting upon the aftermath of the interview gaining widespread attention. “For probably about two months it was at least 20 a day.”
Lainhart, 32, has been laying low, avoiding requests from media since just after the onslaught of death threats, which he told The Wall Street Journal at the time wasn’t worrying him too much, because, as he said, “I love the Second Amendment.”
Yet the stress proved too much for Lainhart and Moore’s relationship to hold up under.
“We tried not to let it bother us, but eventually it just took its toll on me and him both,” he said, sharing that the two are no longer together.
He agreed to speak with LGBTQ Nation because he said he feels it’s time for someone from the LGBTQ community to “step up and be a part of it.”
He said he still believe that Trump can bring back jobs, and put a stop to the influx of steel from China coming into this country. And yes, he is aware that Trump used Chinese steel in some of his construction projects.
“I’ve heard that one so many times,” Lainhart said. “But, on his part, you know, he’s a businessman. You’re going to do whatever you can to get the cheapest, I understand that. Any man, or woman, that owned a business would do that. But if he’s going to get in there and regulate things, like where steel comes from, make sure it’s made here in America.”
When asked if he had heard about Trump backing away from claims China is manipulating currency and dumping cheap steel on the U.S. market, upsetting many in the steel industry, including the United Steelworkers union, he said he hadn’t. He noted that he had been working 12 to 16 hour days and hadn’t had time to keep close track of the news.
He is only now re-emerging from self-imposed social media exile following the backlash he received following The Wall Street Journal interview.
“I ended up deleting Facebook and I actually just got it back, probably like two weeks ago,” he said. “It just got crazy. I had to kill it for a while. I mean I still get it now, but it’s like one or two a day, or every other day, it’s nothing like it was.”
Lainhart has also found a support system of like-minded individuals via Facebook as well, however, having started an LGBT For Trump page well before his video interview made him a semi-public figure.
“I was on those Trump pages, and yes a lot of Trump supporters are not LGBT-friendly. Well, that goes both ways, I guess. So I decided to make a page for just LGBT people to show them that they’re not alone. That there was other Trump supporters out there,” he said.
The group represents members from all over the country, he said, and represents a sort of “Trump brotherhood or sisterhood.”