Activists launch campaign against Trump’s anti-LGBT army secretary nominee

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

LGBT activists have launched a campaign to block Trump’s nomination of an anti-LGBT Republican lawmaker as army secretary.

The Human Rights Campaign and the American Military Partners Association have condemned Mark Green, who would replace the first out man to head a military branch were he confirmed.

Eric Fanning made history when Barack Obama nominated him as the US Secretary of the Army in May last year.

Fanning was turfed out of his job when Donald Trump took office, with billionaire hockey club owner Vincent Viola serving in the interim role.

Green’s anti-LGBTQ record includes saying that being trans is a “disease” and equating trans people to rapists and pedophiles.

He has also encouraged the state of Tennessee to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, called Obama’s guidance protecting trans students an example of “tyrannical government” and authored a bill which would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without being censured.

In a joint press conference, the HRC and AMPA said Green’s views were radical and outdated, and that they were rallying support against him.

In a statement, HRC president Chad Griffin said: “Mark Green is a danger to every LGBTQ soldier bravely serving our country.

He added that Green “has used his office in Tennessee to push ‘license to discriminate’ legislation and undermine the basic civil rights of LGBTQ people at every turn.

“It would be unconscionable to put this man in charge of our Army.

“We call on every U.S. Senator to stand up for LGBTQ service members and reject this nomination.”

Activists launch campaign against Trump’s anti-LGBT army secretary nominee

HRC national press secretary Stephen Peters said that “as a Marine discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I am appalled that Donald Trump would seek to put this man in charge of the US Army.”

“Under President Obama’s leadership, we finally ended policies that forced service members, their partners, and families to hide who they are and treated them as second-class citizens,” Peters added.

“There are thousands upon thousands of us who fought this injustice so that we could serve openly today – and who are now threatened by the appointment of a man who has spent his career working to undermine our rights.”

Activists launch campaign against Trump’s anti-LGBT army secretary nominee

In his first public statement since being nominated, Green dismissed bills he put forward attacking LGBT people as simply “politics”.

Fanning was outspoken about his sexuality as army secretary, stating that
LGBT inclusivity is not a “social experiment” and that he could never have imagined being allowed to take the role.

Fanning also talked emotionally about the significance of being an openly gay man in the role while attending a Pride event – the first army secretary to ever do so.

Activists launch campaign against Trump’s anti-LGBT army secretary nominee

“For many in our military, Pride in San Diego has special meaning… With their actions, they sent a clear message to our country: that it’s possible to take deep pride in being part of two great families, the US military and the LGBT community.

“I thought about my own experience when I first went to the Pentagon. I didn’t see anyone else like me in that large building.

“Each time I advance in [my] career, I get more attention and more people write to me, and I realise how many other people now see something they didn’t see before.”