Trump breaks tradition of recognizing LGBTQ Pride Month

The silence is deafening.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

June 1 marks the beginning of Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ movement rooted in the community activism that built off the 1969 Stonewall Riots. President Donald Trump, who has long claimed to be an LGBTQ ally, could have become the first Republican president to acknowledge Pride Month with a proclamation, but he didn’t — and the silence is deafening.

President Bill Clinton was the first president to issue a Pride Month proclamation. The tradition didn’t immediately catch on; his successor, President George W. Bush, was an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ equality who campaigned on banning same-sex marriage. But President Barack Obama not only embraced the tradition, but also set a new precedent for it. In addition to issuing a proclamation at the beginning of each Pride Month of his two terms, he also held an annual White House reception to celebrate the movers and shakers of the LGBTQ movement.

There is no reception on Trump’s agenda, and the absence of a Pride Month proclamation is quite conspicuous. Shin Inouye, who served as Obama’s LGBTQ communications liaison from 2009–2014, was the first to notice that Trump had issued several other proclamations for June this week, such as “National Homeownership Month” and “African-American Music Appreciation Month” — but none for Pride.

Though Trump has frequently boasted that he’s LGBTQ-friendly, his record doesn’t show it; in fact, he hasn’t taken a single pro-LGBTQ action in office. Instead, he’s withdrawn guidance protecting transgender and gender-nonconforming students, dropped out of several court cases related to LGBTQ rights, and appointed countless personnel with viciously anti-LGBTQ records. Even during his campaign, the only times Trump mentioned LGBTQ issues was when he was trying to convince the queer community to embrace Islamophobia.

Not coincidentally, 2017’s Pride Month will be marked by political demonstrations mirroring the Women’s March and other recent protests. In Washington, D.C., the Equality March for Unity & Pride will march right past the White House.

According to the Washington Blade, several agencies will continue their tradition of holding Pride Month events, such as the Small Business Administration, the Pentagon, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Trump’s appointed leaders have been invited, such as HUD Secretary Ben Carson, but it remains to be seen if they’ll show. If Carson’s nasty record of rejecting LGBTQ people is any indication, it seems unlikely he’ll attend.

Obama’s historic eight proclamations tracked both the progress of LGBTQ equality in the country and his own evolution on the issues. As a point of juxtaposition with Trump’s missing proclamation, here are some of the many aspects and concerns of LGBTQ life that Obama referenced in his eight years of Pride proclamations:

  • LGBTQ families, partner benefits, and (eventually) marriage equality (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • The Stonewall Riots and the history of activists who marched and “agitated” for LGBTQ rights (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016)
  • The HIV epidemic and the needs of people living with HIV (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • LGBTQ youth, their mental health, and protecting them from harassment and bullying in schools (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Housing discrimination against LGBTQ people and LGBTQ homelessness (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Hate crime laws and violence against LGBTQ people (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Advocating for international LGBTQ equality and decriminalizing homosexuality abroad (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • LGBTQ health care concerns (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016)
  • LGBTQ military personnel and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
  • LGBTQ employees in federal government (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014)
  • The importance of appointing LGBTQ nominees to Senate-confirmed positions (2009, 2011)
  • LGBTQ seniors (2009, 2010)
  • Adoption rights for LGBTQ families (2009, 2010, 2015)
  • The unique and specific needs of transgender and gender nonconforming people (2013, 2015)
  • The harms of conversion/reparative/ex-gay therapy (2015, 2016)

UPDATE: BuzzFeed reached out to the White House every day in the month of June to inquire about why President Trump didn’t issue a Pride Month Proclamation. The question was never answered.