Thursday was the official start of Pride month in the US — a time to honour the history and accomplishments of LGBTQ people. But while Pride has, in previous years, been heralded with official proclamation by then-President Barack Obama (who also organised Pride events at the White House over the last eight years), this year, the LGBTQ community was met with silence from the Trump administration.
President Trump has still not publicly acknowledged Pride Month — though he did make the time and effort to officially declare June as National Homeowner's Month, National Ocean Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, and Great Outdoors Month.
LGBTQ activists are, understandably, more than a little upset by the silence.
“Every June, leaders from all walks of life recognise Pride month and stand together in support of LGBTQ people, however President Trump chose to start this Pride month with deafening silence,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement provided to Refinery29.
The Human Rights Campaign responded to the silence with their own proclamation, naming June #UniteResistEnlist Month. The statement breaks down Trump's not-so-great history on LGBTQ policy issues and calls for activists to take action against the administration.
"WHEREAS, Donald Trump has launched a crusade against LGBTQ rights and progress by appointing anti-LGBTQ activists across his Administration, rescinding guidance regarding schools’ obligations to transgender students, pushing an unconstitutional Muslim ban and draconian deportation policies, inviting his cabinet to create a #LicenseToDiscriminate, proposing dangerous cuts to critical health care programs and research, and erasing LGBTQ people in federal data collection," the statement reads.
"Even if Ivanka Trump tries to save face with LGBTQ Americans, President Trump’s negligence at the start of Pride month provided another example that this administration is no friend to the community," Ellis said.
Bill Clinton was the first to mark June as Pride Month, a practice that was shut down during George Bush's eight years in office and then picked back up when Barack Obama took office. Obama was the first to host Pride Month events at the White House, which will likely also be absent under the Trump administration.
Again, although LGBTQ activists are upset with what seems to be a step back on support from the White House, this move isn't too surprising. Trump's administration has made several decisions in the few months since he started his presidency that threaten the rights of LGBTQ Americans, and Vice President Mike Pence has been repeatedly criticised for holding anti-LGBTQ views.
Despite the lack of presidential support, LGBTQ activists and their allies are still celebrating Pride the best way they know how — with plenty of rainbows and resistance.
"While the Trump Administration tries to systematically erase LGBTQ people and families from the fabric of this nation, LGBTQ Americans and allies must do what we know best this Pride month – stay visible and march for acceptance," Ellis said.
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