The next Presidential election will be Tuesday, November 5, 2024, but candidates have already begun to throw their hats into the ring. The Republican field is quickly growing crowded.
Media covering the campaign should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records and ask the candidates about them. The records include:
The Republican Candidates
Numerous post-presidency anti-trans statements including (in part):
- Vowed to crack down on “transgender insanity” and pledged to “revoke every Biden policy promoting the disfigurement of our youth” at the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign
- Accused Democrats of “pushing the transgender cult” on children
- Said, “We’re going to defeat the cult of gender ideology and reaffirm that God created two genders: men and women. We’re not going to allow men to play women’s sports.”
- Recommitted to his 2017 tweeted ban against transgender Americans serving in the military: “As commander-in-chief, I will get Biden’s radical left ideology out of our military.”
GLAAD documented more than 200 attacks against LGBTQ Americans during Donald Trump’s one-term presidency. During his presidency, Trump’s administration (in part):
- Allowed federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers via religious exemption
- Banned transgender people from serving in the military
- Issued a rule allowing doctors and physicians the opportunity to deny LGBTQ Americans health care services, including life-saving care based on religious beliefs
- Urged Supreme Court Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito “take a legal baseball bat” to the court’s 2015 decision legalizing marriage equality
- Nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court include marriage equality opponents Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh, opponent of abortion rights
- Allowed single-sex homeless shelters to turn away transgender people
- Erased any mention of the LGBTQ community from White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor websites
- Rescinded Title IX protections for transgender students
- Appointed anti-LGBTQ Cabinet members including Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.; Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao; Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; and others
- Opposed workplace nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- And dozens more incidents, statements, and actions
- Hired a communications staffers to his presidential campaign team who kept re-tweeting videos from a DeSantis fan account that “adds Nazi imagery to clips of the Florida governor.” That staffer was fired.
- Signed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban bills into law
- Signed into law HB 1521 that would make it difficult or impossible for transgender Floridians to access appropriate restrooms, domestic violence shelters, correctional institutions, or other spaces that match their gender
- Signed into law SB 254 that bans gender-affirming medical care such as puberty blockers or hormone therapy for transgender youth, and also enacts obstacles for adults to access treatment
- Signed into law HB 1069 that bans trans students from being able to use their correct pronouns
- Signed into law HB 1438, a drag restriction law
- Signed into law HB 225 an anti-trans sports ban
- Requested and was granted a ban on classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
- Issued a survey to Florida’s 12 universities and 28 state and community colleges asking which of these institutions provide services to transgender students.
- Falsely compared puberty blockers to “chemical castration”
- Backed the Florida Department of Education’s advice to schools to disregard proposed federal guidelines that protect transgender youth
- Directed state agencies to issue guidance to begin to strip Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, despite the fact that it is supported by every major medical association
- Targeted small business owner hosting drag brunch
- Condemned the Walt Disney Company following Disney chief executive Bob Chapek’s acknowledgement of error in staying silent on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and subsequent public opposition to the legislation which DeSantis signed into law.
- DeSantis’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, libeled opponents of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill as sexual predators.
- Took down a Department of Education website that supplied educators, parents, and students with anti-bullying resources.
- Signed a restrictive transgender youth sports ban into law, on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month. The law bans transgender girls and women in public secondary schools and colleges in Florida from participating on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
- Vetoed all funding for LGBTQ programs from the $101 billion state budget, including $150,000 for mental health programming to support survivors of the Pulse Massacre and $750,000 to house homeless LGBTQ children, as well as funds for Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center
- Signed an anti-discrimination order for state employees that excludes protections for LGBTQ people.
- Falsely claimed that transgender girls playing sports contribute to teenage suicide ideation. The claim is baseless. The Advocate reports, “It wasn’t the first time Haley made the unsupported claim that teen girls are being negatively affected by transgender teen girls’ participation in sports. She made the same assertion in New Hampshire” one month prior.
- Misgendered and disparaged transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney
- Said President Joe Biden’s support of transgender rights will destroy women’s sports
- Opposed marriage equality as both South Carolina state representative and governor.
- Rejected matching funds for a program offering HIV medication to lower-income patients.
- Signed a voter ID law, which critics contend is racist and/or meant to suppress the Democratic vote.
- Signed Senate Bill 354, an anti-transgender bill that bans transgender women and girls from participating in sports
- Said the state legislature has gone a “step way too far,” when it voted to override his veto on a bill banning treatments for transgender minors
- Signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients based on religious or moral objections
- Signed into law a revised religious freedom bill that could allow discrimination against LGBT people
- Refused to veto and allowed to become law a discriminatory bill that prevents cities and counties from enacting civil rights protections of LGBTQ people
- The “Issues” section on his campaign site reads, “The radical Left wants to indoctrinate our children, not educate them. Tim Scott will fight to ensure that America’s kids are learning how to read and write, not about gender transition and sexual identity before it’s appropriate.”
- Introduced a bill in the Senate that has many similarities to Florida’s “don’t say gay” law
- Voted against the Respect for Marriage Act
- Considers homosexuality a morally wrong choice, like adultery.
- Supported the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on LGB people in the military
- Supported The First Amendment Defense Act, which would’ve prevented “the federal government from taking adverse action against individuals or institutions based on their definition of marriage or beliefs about premarital sex.”
- Voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have granted basic job protections to LGBTQ people
Extensive anti-LGBTQ record can be found at Mike Pence’s GLAAD Accountability Project record. Select statements and actions are below:
- Said he would again prohibit transgender Americans from serving in the military, as was the policy when he was vice president under Donald Trump, and falsely cited “unit cohesion” as an area of military readiness affected by transgender personnel. Unit cohesion suffered because of the anti-trans ban.
- Falsely characterized essential health care for transgender youth in CNN Town Hall as having “profound negative effects”; and refused to explain how his support of parents’ rights did not include supporting parents of transgender people and their private health care decisions.
- Tweeted the false claim that the charity group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a “hateful group,” and criticizing the L.A. Dodgers for including them in Pride Night.
- Neither President Trump nor VP Pence recognized the third anniversary of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 LGBTQ people.
- As governor of Indiana, Pence earned national notoriety for signing a so-called “religious freedom” bill that religious conservatives in his state (many of whom Pence invited to attend the private bill signing) championed for the purposes of allowing business owners the right to refuse service to LGBTQ customers. After outcry and boycotts, Pence was forced to sign an amended version that made it clear the law cannot be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Said he and the President believe in ending the Obama administration’s guidance on public schools allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and facilities that match their gender identity.
- Supported anti-LGBTQ Federal Marriage Amendment with claims that being gay is a “chosen lifestyle,” and a warning that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
- First ran for Congress on a platform that called on lawmakers to “oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage,” to “oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities,” and to “support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.” Pence called on these federal dollars to instead be “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
- Claimed repealing the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would turn the Armed Forces into a “backdrop for social experimentation.” Sought to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” and restore a full ban on openly gay soldiers.
- Claimed federal hate crimes legislation was really designed “to advance a radical social agenda.”
- Stated that LGBTQ-inclusive hate crime legislation would “silence” groups that promote so-called conversion therapy.
- Insisted “there’s no question to mainstream homosexuality within active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion would have an impact on recruitment, an impact on readiness…”
- Signed on to a letter demanding a federal appointee be fired because of his “role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children.”
- In a profile on Vice President Mike Pence that ran in the New Yorker, President Trump reportedly joked of Pence when asked about LGBTQ rights: ”Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
- Stands by President Trump after he refused to condemn white supremacists who chanted violently racist and anti-LGBTQ slurs during a rally in Charlottesville, VA.
- Behind closed doors advocated for the removal of healthcare benefits for transgender service members within the U.S. military.
- In a closed-door and unannounced opportunity, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence posed for a photograph with notorious anti-LGBTQ activists who wish to promote so-called “religious exemptions” that would harm LGBTQ Americans across the nation.
- Minutes after Donald Trump and Mike Pence were sworn into office, any mention of the LGBTQ community was erased from White House, Department of State, and Department of Labor websites.
- Vice Chair of the Trump Transition Team
- In 2017 “signed two bills instituting broad new protections for transgender New Jersey residents: one directing schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity or provide ‘reasonable alternative arrangements,’ and another prohibiting health insurers from discriminating against transgender residents.”
- In 2015 vetoed “a bill that would have eased access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people.”
- Abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage in 2013, “concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.”
- Signed a bill barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” after California.
- Vetoed legislation in 2012 that would have brought marriage equality to New Jersey.
- Vetoed legislation that would have more easily allowed transgender citizens to change their birth markers, calling the idea “beyond the pale.” New Jersey legalized allowing changes to birth certificates without a court order, doctor letter or other medical evidence in 2019, after Christie left office.
- Says Target “spit in the face of conservatives” in an anti-transgender attack on the retailer for selling swimwear designed to accommodate a variety of body types
- Said he would sign into law a ban on health care for transgender minors if it reaches his desk in the White House. Every major medical association in the U.S. supports such care for trans youth
- Expressed harmful and baseless indoctrination rhetoric calling acceptance of transgender people a “cult” and claiming that LGBTQ people are interfering with “our kids.” “In the name of rights, what they’ve actually done is created a new culture of oppression in the opposite direction, imposing that on kids,” he said. There is zero basis for his claims, and he offered no backup.
- Presidential campaign website features a section called TRUTHS including a list. #2 reads, “There are two genders.”
- Has signaled support for a 6-week abortion ban
- Opposes the study of critical race theory
- Signed a bill into law that allows public school teachers and state government employees to ignore the pronouns their transgender students and colleagues use.
- Signed two transgender athlete bans into law, prohibiting transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams in K–12 and college. Two years ago Burgum vetoed a nearly identical bill that would have banned transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams in public schools.
- Signed a bill into law that restricts transgender health care in the state, immediately making it a crime to give gender-affirming care to people younger than 18.
- Signed a total of eight discriminatory bills into law in 2023 including those above; restrictions on drag performances; a “religious refusal” bill permitting discrimination; and bills adding additional rules for gender markers on birth certificates that discriminates against transgender people.
- Defied his party in a rebuke against an anti-LGBTQ resolution that was passed by hundreds of Republican legislators in the North Dakota legislature. Burgum said the resolution, which states that “LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large,” is homophobic and divisive.
- Create Church, the church Binkley and his wife founded, has this on it’s site under the Beliefs section: “Marriage: We believe marriage is defined in the Bible as a covenant, a sacred bond between one man and one woman, instituted by and publicly entered into before God (Matthew 19:4-6).” An earlier version of the site included the additional passage comparing homosexuality and bisexuality with bestiality and incest: “As a consequence, the Church regards any and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or even lustful intent toward such, as sinful and ultimately unsatisfying.”
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
- Expressed support for a Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law championed by Governor Ron DeSantis that bans classroom instruction or discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. He did not specify whether he supported the expansion of the policy to all grades.
- Signed the City of Miami’s LGBTQ Ordinance announcing, “Today we officially signed the City of Miami’s LGBTQ Ordinance recognizing the decades of contributions by the LGBTQ Miami residents to the economy and diversity of the city! After today (1) The City of Miami will create a database assigning LGBTQ businesses in Miami as a designated minority businesses (2) National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce will be officially recognized by the City Administration as a third-party organization tasked with certifying LGBTQ businesses (3) Eligibility as a recognized minority business to small business enterprise training programs and other services already offered to minority owned businesses around Miami. Proud to be part of what makes Miami the Magic City and a #Miami4All 🏳️🌈”
- Said DeSantis’s “Don’t Say [Gay/Trans]” bill has also deflated some of Miami’s efforts to attract new residents, conventions and business opportunities. “My perspective is that we don’t want little kids being taught about sexuality in the classroom,” said Suarez, who is married with two kids. “We want parents to do that. But we also want to be a country that is pro-equal rights for the LGBTQ community, which is what Miami is about. And I think whether it’s equality in housing or equality in job opportunity, the LGBTQ community is a community that is a large stakeholder in this country and deserves to be treated with respect and kindness as we do here in our city. This goes back to conflicted leadership, as opposed to persuasive leadership and aspirational leadership.”
- Supports same-sex marriage, and same-sex couples’ right to adopt.
- Opposes transgender athletes participating in sports on teams aligning with their gender identity.
- Misgendered Caitlyn Jenner in a tweet: “How many from the #LGBT community did #BruceJenner lose when he came out–as republican?!”
- Tweeted about Playboy’s first-ever transgender playmate, “.@Playboy to feature its first “transgender” Playmate?!? Jeez!!! If Hef weren’t dead, this would have killed him.”
- Tweeted about the deadly Pulse massacre, “If the #Orlando terrorist was gay, does that disqualify the massacre from being a hate crime?”
- Complained in a tweet about LGBTQ representation in media writing, “Any roles for men not gay / transsexual / transgender / transvestite / cross dressers / bi-sexual or unsure? #GoldenGlobes”
- Said, “When I’m elected president, there are three things that I’d like to do immediately. Number one, I want to start a program where we balance the budget to stop inflation. Number two, never again will we allow transition therapy for minors. It is child abuse,” Johnson said.
- As a 2022 Republican candidate for Michigan governor, Johnson was disqualified due to invalid nominating petition signatures.
The Democratic Candidates
Currently there are no plans to hold a Democratic primary contest to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden, although at least two Democrats have announced their run for President.
- GLAAD is monitoring the Biden-Harris administration’s executive orders, legislative support, speeches and nominations that affect LGBTQ people and rights at the Biden Accountability Tracker. GLAAD has documented more than 200 policies, statements, and appointments to include and protect LGBTQ people in Biden’s administration’s first two years.
- Made false claims that COVID-19 was “ethnically targeted” to attack certain ethnic groups while sparing Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people, a conspiracy theory that drew accusations of antisemitism and racism.
- Told Joe Rogan that Wi-Fi causes cancer and “leaky brain.”
- Falsely linked vaccines to various medical conditions, including the scientifically discredited belief that vaccines for children cause autism. Kennedy advertised misleading information about vaccine ingredients and circulated retracted studies linking vaccines to various medical conditions.
- At an anti-vaccine rally in Washington, D.C., compared vaccination records to the persecution of Jews by the Nazis. He said, “Even in Hitler Germany [sic], you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did… I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, true, but it was possible.” In fact, Frank and some 6 million other Jews were murdered by Nazis. Frank and her family hid in an attic in the Netherlands, not Germany, before she was caught and was sent to a concentration camp, where she died.
- Falsely told Louisiana lawmakers in 2021 that the coronavirus vaccine was the “deadliest vaccine ever made.”
- His nonprofit organization Children’s Health Defense was removed from Facebook and Instagram for repeatedly violating guidelines by spreading medical misinformation.
- Claimed that chemicals in our water are causing kids to be transgender. He told anti-trans conspiracy theorist Jordan Peterson that kids are “swimming through a soup of toxic chemicals,” including atrazine, a common herbicide, and that, “A lot of the problems we see in kids, and particularly boys, it’s probably underappreciated that how much of that is coming from chemical exposures, including a lot of the sexual dysphoria that we’re seeing.” There is no evidence to indicate that the herbicide causes gender dysphoria in humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “Most people are not exposed to atrazine on a regular basis.”
- Suggested that poppers, not HIV, causes AIDS and that, “But for [Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony] Fauci, it was really important to call it a virus because that made it an infectious disease, and it allowed him to take control of it.”
- Falsely and repeatedly endorsed the idea that mass shootings have increased because of heightened use of antidepressants.
- Said that Republicans stole the 2004 presidential election.
- Presidential campaign site features pro-LGBTQ equality platform that includes support for the The Equality Act, the Equal Rights Amendment, LGBTQ equity in public accommodations, opposition to anti-LGBTQ discrimination in healthcare settings, and other positions. It reads in part, “In a Williamson administration, no person, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, will feel unsupported by their government. They will live with the absolute knowledge that they and their rights are both honored and protected by the highest authorities in the land.”
- Said that policies requiring children to get life-saving vaccines is “Orwellian” and “draconian” and that the issue is “no different than the abortion debate.”
- Said to a group of HIV positive disciples, “The AIDS virus is not more powerful than God,” according to a 1992 Los Angeles Times expose. The same year Williamson published the book A Return to Love in which she claimed that “cancer and AIDS and other physical illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream… “We’re not punished for our sins, but by our sins. Sickness is not a sign of God’s judgment on us, but of our judgment on ourselves… sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist.”
- Founded Project Angel Food, which in 1989 started delivering meals to homebound people living with HIV. She says it was LGBTQ folks and people living with HIV who helped “establish my career.” She left in 1992.
More candidate records will be added as candidates declare.
GLAAD urges the media to include LGBTQ people and issues in their coverage of the primary and general election campaign, and ask the candidates about their public statements, policies and proposals, including in debates.
For more resources and information on elections, visit GLAAD.org/vote.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.