We can see parallels of representation politics being distorted in the LGBTQ world.
Obviously, for me as a queer man, seeing an openly gay or transgender person elevated to a position of power is very gratifying. I was born during a time where such a thing was not remotely possible.
However, it would be simplistic to assume that every gay or transgender person shares my values or politics.
The Trump campaign for example recently tried to leverage openly gay Richard Grenell’s sexual orientation to garner support for Trump’s reelection.
Grenell served as Trump’s ambassador to Germany and briefly as the acting director of national intelligence, making him the highest ranking openly gay man to ever serve in the US government.
So, does Grenell make me feel represented? Not really. Besides being openly gay he is an open misogynist. He supports many of the anti-LGBTQ measures the Trump administration stood for. He has done highly paid PR consultancy work for authoritarian regimes overseas.
When the Trump campaign touted Grenell as evidence that they are fine with LGBTQ people, I could not help but feel disrespected and disempowered. I also couldn’t help but feel they were using him as a token.
Representation is important, but as you say it isn’t everything. I agree that we do need to be careful.