Is Donald Trump a friend to the gays? I ask because he seems to think he is.
"Ask the gays," he said recently, "and then you tell me, who's your friend?"
To be fair, Donald has occasionally done some nice things for gay people.
His foundation gave money to HIV charities in the '90s; he allows openly gay people at his private clubs; and he supported a hate crimes bill 16 years ago. When Elton John got married, Trump said "It's a marriage that's going to work, I'm very happy for them." But just because one of us let you get close to his piano doesn't make us friends.
And then there are the many times he's said that he opposes marriage equality, from 2011 all the way up to 2015. He even told Fox News that he'd "strongly consider" Supreme Court justices who would overturn the freedom to marry.
That doesn't seem so friendly.
He also said he was opposed to civil unions, and then a month later said he hadn't made up his mind on civil unions. He said he'd overturn Obama's job protections for LGBTs, but also said that the Civil Rights Act should be amended to protect LGBT employment.
He's trying to have it both ways on a lot of issues. Maybe the reason he wants someone to "ask the gays" is because he genuinely doesn't know. But we DO know that his friends include Phyllis Schlafly, who said of Trump, "he is a real conservative and I ask you to support him." The founder of The Eagle Forum, she wrote a whole book about how "the gays" bear partial blame for killing the American family. She's pretty sure she knows our true agenda, telling a radio host, "They want to wipe out the Christian religion."
And regarding marriage equality, she said, "We don't have to obey it just because some judges said so... we just don't believe in accepting what some judge says as the new law."
Ralph Reed is Donald Trump's friend too. "Donald we're thrilled to have you ... we'd like to see your voice out there," Ralph told him at an appearance.
A key figure in the Christian Coalition, Ralph once said, "no one should have special rights or privileges or minority status because of their sexual behavior. " Ralph also called basic job protections for LGBTs "a dagger aimed at the heart of religious freedom." So friendly.
Then there's Jerry Falwell Jr, who endorsed Trump for president. He runs Liberty University, where they deleted mentions of sexual orientation from psychology textbooks, and also refuse to offer tuition discounts to same-sex spouses of veterans. Wouldn't you love to be friends with him?
"Pastor Robert Jeffress ... I love and respect this guy," Trump said at a recent rally before inviting Jeffress up on stage.
After the Supreme Court ruling that legalized marriage, the White House was lit a rainbow colors. Here's how Jeffress described that: "Obama responded by bathing the White House... in colors that represent degradation, depravity and sexual perversion." He also accused gays of "brainwashing" the American public using techniques "that have been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years."
Okay, those are enough examples of Trump's friends. The point is that we don't know if Donald's our friend. He might not know himself, because he's held so many different position on so many issues.
But here's the thing. We "the gays" have had some great friends over the years. We've had people who stood up for our rights, helped us achieve equality, literally defended our right to survive. We've also had some enemies. People who tried to harm us, deny our existence, take advantage of us.
In that time, we've learned a thing or two about friends. We've gotten real good at recognizing when someone's a real friend to the gays. Just for example, Elizabeth Taylor. At a time when our country's leaders were refusing to even acknowledge AIDS, she became one of the leading activists in the world to fight for the lives of gay people.
That's what it means to be our friend. And Donald Trump is no Elizabeth Taylor.