Will (opposite) is of Puerto Rican decent and at 29 is a US Marine veteran. He was brought up as a Catholic but is non-practicing. He is President of the San Diego Democrats For Equality, and State Secretary of the California Young Democrats.
Is America still the land of the free? William: I’m not sure it ever was. I’m a patriot but I don’t view my country with blinders. “Land of the free” was placed in our national anthem when we were still a nation with slaves. Now it seems we are on the verge of rolling back all the civil and human rights progress we have made since our founding. It’s a dark time for many of us who are concerned about what happens in Trump’s America.
Do you feel safe?
I don’t. We have a president who is hostile towards communities that I’m part of. We have a regime with [anti-gay] Vice President Mike Pence advising him. Trump’s policies increase hatred. Locally, I’ve witnessed acts of homophobia and bigotry perpetrated by his supporters. For anyone who is not in the demographic that supported Donald Trump, it is a scary time to be an American.
Do you think LGBTI civil rights will be rolled back under a Trump presidency?
Yes. While he hasn’t rolled back the executive orders of President Obama, what damage might he do through the Supreme Court and other cabinet appointments? A religious liberty executive order is likely to be rolled out, which would legalise discrimination against the LGBTI community on religious grounds. Are you concerned that some immigrant Americans may be sent back to their country of origin?
My partner is an immigrant. He and his family immigrated to the United States from Mexico legally but there is concern about their status as permanent residents. This could prevent their return from any trip to Mexico to visit family. Fear, hatred and the bigoted policies of this administration has literally separated families. It’s sad and horrifying.
Has Trump galvanized LGBTI people to fight for and protect civil rights?
LGBTI organisations have actively been showing up for other communities who are high on the regime’s targeted list and it seems like there is a vigilance for the potential policies that could come out against us. What do you think the LGBTI community can do to influence a positive outcome?
We can’t afford to be single-minded in our fight for equality. An attack on Muslim immigrants, on women’s reproductive rights, on unions, on Black Lives, Brown Lives and Trans Lives are inherently attacks on the LGBTQ community. Our community is one of the most organised and effective social justice movements, but our successes over the last eight years are at risk of coming undone. I plan on resisting this regime with every fibre of my being. I hope my community is with me.
I’ve witnessed homophobia and bigotry perpetrated by Trump supporters. It is a scary time to be an American.