After years of precedent set by former President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump is breaking from tradition by failing to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month.
On the final day of May, the president issued five separate proclamations, choosing June to honor Caribbean-American heritage, African-American music, homeownership, the outdoors and the ocean. (Reporters and comedians alike noted the irony of the last two, in light of the U.S. pulling out last week of the Paris Climate Agreement.) An acknowledgement of June as a historic month for LGBTQ people was nowhere to be found.
LGBTQ advocates and former White House staffers took to Twitter to criticize the lack of recognition. Shin Inouye, a former member of Obama’s communication staff, said Trump “couldn’t be bothered” to recognize LGBT Pride Month and expressed that, given his record, “maybe it’s for the best.”
The celebration of Pride commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which occurred near the end of June 1969 in New York City and are often considered the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
As gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights have gained visibility and progress in recent years, Pride Month has begun to receive recognition at the federal level. Former President Bill Clinton was the first to officially declare June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” issuing a proclamation on June 2, 2000. After former President George W. Bush failed to recognize Pride during either of his terms, the Obama White House issued an annual proclamation of “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month” beginning in 2011, according to White House archives.
Although Trump has yet to issue an official proclamation, Politico reports that several federal agencies, such as the Pentagon, are hosting Pride events, just as they did during Obama’s two terms. Still, the lack of a presidential acknowledgment has forced these agencies to stop publishing any Pride-related documentation or posters indefinitely.
On June 1, Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted her support of Pride 2017 and the LGBTQ community.
The tweet was met with backlash from members of the community. Lucas Grindley, editor-in-chief of LGBTQ publication Advocate, wrote in an op-ed that recognizing Pride Month in a tweet doesn’t make her, or anyone in the Trump administration, an “ally.” He noted Ivanka’s silence as reports came in-twice-that her father planned to sign a “religious freedom” executive order, which would implicitly allow discrimination against LGBTQ people on the basis of religion.
“Don’t call yourself a supporter if you haven’t told a roomful of reporters that a ‘religious freedom’ order is tantamount to legalizing discrimination,” wrote Grindley.
The Trump administration has also allowed for an injunction to be set in place that bars Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in schools, from applying to transgender students. So while Trump has previously issued vocal support for LGBTQ rights, such as in his 2016 speech at the Republican National Convention, the actions of his administration have mainly garnered criticism, not support, from activists.
Displayed with permission from Newsweek