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Image credit: Roberto Nava-Alsina

join me in the fight to stop Mike Pompeo

April 21, 2018

President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and nominated former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the next highest-ranked U.S. diplomat. It is the Secretary’s mission to promote democracy and protect human rights globally. But Pompeo has a long record of discriminating against people like me. I believe words and actions must go hand-in-hand when it comes to politics and policy. Pompeo fails both tests.

Neither his words nor his actions show he is committed to human rights. When you’re applying for a job, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. I oppose Pompeo’s nomination because based on his attacks on LGBTQ+ Americans, it is unlikely that he would defend Americans like me on the global stage. I need to know that not only I will be safe, but that every LGBTQ+ person in the world will be as well.

At home, he opposed the repeal of Texas’s “Homosexual Conduct” laws, which criminalized LGBTQ+ people. He also lobbied against the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, attempting to shove every LGBTQ+ American in the military into the shadows. And he’s obstructed non-discrimination laws that would protect every American regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. When it comes to foreign policy, he has professional connections to Family Research Council, a hate group that supported a bill to criminalize and attempt to exterminate LGBTQ+ people in Uganda.

Not only has Pompeo called being LGBTQ+ a “perversion,” but he has also attacked Muslims and access to reproductive health. Moreover, Pompeo has supported the unnecessary use of military force in the past. The top diplomat should support diplomacy—not war. Time and time again, Pompeo has demonstrated us that he is unfit to be our champion.

Earlier this month, I delivered a letter and research to warn Senate Foreign Relations Committee members and key Democratic Senate leadership of Pompeo’s extremist record. I walked to 23 Senate offices and urged them to consider this information before they faced him at his nomination hearing. Although not everyone heeded our call, I’m grateful to have allies in the Senate like Senator Booker, Senator Coons, and Senator Shaheen.

When they asked him about his views opposing marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, Pompeo failed to confirm that he would defend my rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He replied, “I stand by that," when pushed about his anti-LGBTQ record by Sen. Booker. If Pompeo is confirmed standing for hate and intolerance, our diplomatic leadership abroad will suffer.

I felt great honor to do my part in impeding Pompeo’s nomination, as his confirmation would be a great disservice to our Nation and the LGBTQ+ community. I participated in this special task because we must all do all we can to defend our human rights and the gifts of democracy. I ask every single LGBTQ+ person and ally to contact your senator and urge them to vote against Pompeo’s nomination.

Pompeo may not recognize that LGBTQ rights are human rights, but we know that they are. Like many others, I thank God every day that I am a gay man.

Together, we must #StopPompeo.

Tony Hernandez is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and a senior at the University of Texas at Austin studying government and rhetoric & writing. Tony currently serves as a member of the Bill Archer Fellowship Program and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) in Washington, D.C..

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