While some are celebrating Donald Trump’s election, his victory is causing widespread worry among many minority groups.
Leaders from LGBTQ resource centers in the Capital Region say many of the people they serve are worried about what a Republican-controlled Congress and Trump presidency could mean for them. The future of gay rights, particularly marriage equality, is causing concern among many in the LGBTQ community.
But the leader of Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian political group, says much of that concern is unwarranted.
The most pro-LGBTQ nominee in the history of the Republican Party: That’s how Gregory T. Angelo, leader of Log Cabin Republicans, describes President-elect Donald Trump.
“If there was ever a group that Mr. Trump lifted up as he was pursuing the presidency, it was the LGBT community,” said Angelo.
Angelo points to Trump’s response to the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando.
“When other Republicans were tiptoeing around the community that was targeted, Donald Trump was among the first to say that this was a horrendous attack against the LGBTQ community,” said Angelo.
But for many in the LGBTQ community, Trump’s heated campaign rhetoric triggered ugly memories of discrimination. News of his victory was met with fear and anxiety inside Albany’s Damien Center, a support center for people living with HIV and AIDS.
"I had one gentleman screaming at me saying, 'why don’t they care about me? Why do they hate me so much?' ” said Damien Center Director Perry Junjulas.
He fears a Trump presidency could mean a roll-back in gay rights progress made during the Obama administration, particularly marriage equality.
“The thought of that going away, whether it be by Trump specifically or by a Trump-appointed Supreme Court nominee, is extremely disconcerting,” said Junjulas.
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has a record of opposing gay rights. But Angelo argues there are widespread misconceptions about Trump’s positions.
“Hillary Clinton raised preposterous sectors of things like marriage equality being taken away, which cannot conceivably happen, no matter who is in the White House and no matter who is in the Supreme Court,” said Angelo.
Amid angst and uncertainty, Junjulas says the center’s top priority is providing comfort to the community they serve.
“We’re still here for you, and we’re going to be here for you and we will fight to be here for you,” said Junjulas.
Another source of concern at the Damien Center: More than half of its annual budget comes from government grants. Junjulas fears the center could see a reduction in funding under a Trump administration.