In the immediate aftermath of the Pulse nightclub attacks
, presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed he would do what he can to protect the LGBT community.
The display of ally-ship was surprising, considering that the GOP party platform this year is incredibly hostile towards LGBT people, with the right for parents to seek gay 'conversion' therapy for their children
being endorsed by the party.
"As your president I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens", he insisted at the Republican National Convention, where PayPal founder Peter Thiel gave a landmark speech about his sexuality
However, it seems as though that assurance was merely lip service, as reports have emerged that Trump will headline a "vehemently anti-LGBT conference" in Orlando on August 11 and 12, exactly two months after the horrific shooting at nearby Pulse nightclub, where 49 LGBT people and allies lost their lives.
Trump has sent very mixed messages regarding his support of the community. In April this year, he advocated for trans people to "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate", but has also said that he would "strongly consider" appointing High Court justices to overrule nation-wide marriage equality laws.
Describing the "Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project" conference in Orlando as a "who’s who some of the country’s most harmful anti-LGBT persons", Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of pro-LGBT religious group Faith In America said, “in attending this vehemently anti-LGBT event, Trump continues to show he is truly a danger to the LGBT community,”
"He isn’t savvy enough to understand how he’s being manipulated by the organizers of this conference. It is reported organizers of the event want to ask Trump about how he plans to combat ‘homosexual totalitarianism.’ Trump will probably nod his head and say ‘yes’ to any anti-LGBT requests made at the conference as his campaign is driven by his ego and he’ll do anything, including courting the most anti-LGBT voices, to become president."
"The beliefs shared by this group actively harm LGBT people. This is not the America we want. God will not be found anywhere near that event."
Cruz also blasted Senator Marco Rubio for his plans to attend, saying "it’s incredulous a Senator of United States is willing to collude with individuals who are dedicated to oppressing LGBT people."
"Faith In America calls for Donald Trump and Senator Rubio to pull out of the event, and apologize to the LGBT community".