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Donald Trump on Friday became the first sitting US president to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of evangelical conservatives organized by a prominent anti-LGBT group, the Family Research Council.
The president, who attempted to position himself as a friend to the LGBT community during the election, told guests he was “honored and thrilled” to speak at “this incredible gathering of friends, so many friends.”
Guests attending the summit in Washington, DC, to watch the president speak were handed totebags that included a flyer promoting an “important new book” entitled The Hazards Of Homosexuality.
“Finally: the truth about this public health crisis,” the flyer states, painting the LGBT community as a dangerous threat to the health of “the broader public.”
The book blames “homosexual and bisexual men” for “the recent increases in STDs”, and states that there is a “disproportionate incidence of disease and mental disorders in the GLB community.”
“The sexual revolution and mainstreaming of homosexuality have created a public health crisis affecting us all,” the flyer reads.
Ema O’Connor/BuzzFeed News
The book's Amazon page further refers to the “the baneful nature of homosexuality and its associated addictions and behaviors that invite disease.”
Topics explored in the book include, “Why homosexuality is a public health issue, and not just a private issue”; “The mental health issues: depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance use, partner abuse, and BDSM (bondage/sexual sadomasochism)”; “Why homosexuals have shortened lifespans, chronic conditions, lower quality of life”; “The psychological and medical issues of transgenderism”; and “Child abuse: interventions supporting 'transgender' identities in youth.”
The book is authored by “MassResistance,” a longtime ant-LGBT group based in Massachusetts.
It proclaims an endorsement from Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP). Despite its authoritative sounding name, the ACP is actually an anti-LGBT “fringe group” comprised of a few hundred members who broke away from the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups.
“[The ACP] has a history of propagating damaging falsehoods about LGBT people, including linking homosexuality to pedophilia, and claiming that LGBT people are more promiscuous than heterosexuals, and that LGBT people are a danger to children,” the SPLC warns.
The Family Research Council (FRC), the group who organized the Values Voter Summit, has also been designated as a hate group by the SPLC, warning “its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians.”
The FRC's goal is “to make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society,” according to the SPLC.
Representatives with the FRC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the flyers.
White House communications officials also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president & CEO of LGBT media monitoring group GLAAD, condemned both the flyers and Trump's appearance at the event.
“Given that the Values Voter Summit is a conference of fringe extremists with a viciously anti-LGBTQ agenda, it is not surprising that unequivocally false and baseless materials like this are appearing there,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“MassResistance is an identified hate group and Trump becoming the first sitting president to address this event is the latest example of a clear and distributing pattern of using the presidency of the United States to promote and normalize hate speech,” she said.
The flyers were also denounced by Gregory T. Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a prominent LGBT conservative group.
“I'd expect nothing less from the wingnuts at MassResistance,” Angelo told BuzzFeed News.
Trump in October 2016.
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During the election, Trump distinguished himself slightly from his fellow conservatives by pledging to “fight” for the LGBT community — despite being personally opposed to same-sex marriage.
“Thank you to the LGBT community!” he tweeted in June 2016. “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
When he made history by becoming the first Republican nominee to reference the LGBT community in his convention acceptance speech, Trump said he would “do everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
Joel Kasnetz, a spokesman with the Democratic National Committee, denounced Trump's visit to the Values Voter Summit.
“Today, Donald Trump reminded us that he is one of the country’s biggest threats to LGBTQ people,” Kasnetz told BuzzFeed News. “The anti-LGBTQ bigotry on display at Values Voter Summit should be rejected, but instead was honored with visits from the president and a full slate of top Republican officials.”
Ema O'Connor contributed to this report.