DNA Magazine - - NEWS FEATURE -

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.

Wil­liam Ro­driguezKennedy.

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