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LGBT group on LI talks about life under Trump presidency

The Long Island LGBT Network, a Bay Shore

The Long Island LGBT Network, a Bay Shore nonprofit, hosted a town hall-style meeting Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, to discuss and digest what a Donald Trump presidency means for the LGBT community. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Words of fear mixed with hope and plans for action as Long Island’s LGBT community discussed what life will be like under a Donald Trump presidency.

About 150 people attended “We Will Rise Up!” — an LGBT nonprofit’s town hall-style meeting Thursday night in Bay Shore.

Roland Hoffmann, 46, of Manorville, told the crowd about the time he survived an attack by six men with two-by-fours when he was 17 while living in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1987.

“I have scars on my face to prove it,” Hoffmann said. “All I can say is I am so done with all of this hate. I am so done with it.”

Now, Hoffmann, who has been married to his husband for 21 years, said: “I still cannot walk freely down the street holding my husband’s hand and feel I’m safe for my family, for my daughter.”

Dozens of others spoke to the standing-room-only crowd packed into a meeting room at The Long Island LGBT Network’s Bay Shore Community Center on Park Avenue.

Ezra Green, 15, a transgender male who described himself as gender-neutral said: “I’m currently extremely scared for my rights. I never thought in a million years that Trump would win and there was a possibility that I would lose all my rights.”

Green, a sophomore at Syosset High School, said he was most concerned about Trump choosing the next Supreme Court nominee who could be a justice by the time the court votes on transgender rights, including the controversial issue of which bathrooms they are allowed to use.

Dan Fogel, 32, a pianist and piano instructor from Centereach, said he would take a stand for transgender issues “to help members of the trans community feel not conflicted when they have to do something that is very urgent.”

“I am really depressed about this result,” Fogel said of Trump’s election. “But we all want to get to a positive place.” He suggested having “positive conversations” and to share information with everyone no matter their political affiliation.

“People are very happy to learn something if they can be an advocate and support you,” he said.

David Kilmnick, chief executive of The Long Island LGBT Network, lauded President Barack Obama for “how much he has done for the LGBT community.”

He warned the crowd that a lot of Obama’s work could be undone by Trump.

Kilmnick vowed that he and others at the center will work “on attacking the hate that is out there” through education and old-school style advocacy, like knocking on doors and marching in the streets to bring awareness.

“It’s time to get tough,” Kilmnick said. “We cannot let anything roll back, not one inch.”

An email sent to a Trump campaign spokeswoman requesting comment was not immediately answered Thursday night.

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