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MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid reminded the Trump campaign, and the world, that being racist and LGBT is, unfortunately, not mutually exclusive.
The incident happened over the weekend on MSNBC when Steve Cortes, one of Reid's panelists and a Trump supporter, attempted to defend the campaign's selection of Breitbart chief executive Steve Bannon as campaign CEO. Reid asked Cortes if he felt comfortable being in the same camp as "white nationalists," citing Milo Yiannopolous and his alt-right ilk for derisive rhetoric toward people of color.
Cortes at first rebuffed the claim, describing the Breitbart crew as "nationalist" and touting Yiannopolis as a symbol of progressive values, since he's "incredibly gay." To which Reid replied, "Does that mean he can't be a white nationalist? You say he can't be gay and a white nationalist? Because you can."
The video from MSNBC can be found below with Reid and Cortes going back and forth for several minutes about what affiliation with Breitbart means for Trump and his politics.
The exchange speaks to the erroneous idea that being a member of a marginalized community automatically erases other privileges and biases. Reid correctly points out that to be gay (or lesbian, or bisexual or transgender) does not mean one cannot harbor racist, xenophobic, ageist, ableist or even homophobic or transphobic ideas.
Many famous LGBT people have been called out for racism or insensitivity, even as recently as this month when Ellen DeGeneres was criticized for a joke about Olympic track star Usain Bolt. Racism on dating apps is in plain sight. Actress Rose McGowan once famously blasted gay and bisexual men for misogyny. And the demise of the lesbian music festival, Michfest, which had excluded transgender women, was seen by activists as a win in fighting transphobia.
The case of Yiannopolous alone is a prime example of Reid's point. The Breitbart personality led a pro-gay, anti-immigration rally during the Republican national convention. He's also known to talk about his fetishized love for black men. Most recently, TheDaily Beast questioned the legality of a scholarship program he launched that serves white men.
It's also not the first time this election season that supporters of Trump attempted to draw a line between white LGBT people and LGBT communities of color. The candidate himself repeatedly made the case after the Orlando massacre that the appropriate reaction is a ban on all Muslims entering the country, combined with "extreme vetting" that questions about an immigrant's ideology.
Southern Poverty Law Center mentioned several white nationalist groups that seem to be working to bring white sexual minorities into the fold, rallying on an islamophobic agenda. This dangerous conflation of LGBT rights and white power isn't just tied to the U.S. - as nationalist groups around Europe have touted LGB inclusivity while advocating for white supremacy. Gay neo-nazis, like those reported on by Vice in Russia, are a global phenomenon.