President Donald Trump made a splash in the news Friday when he tweeted about celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month and bragged about his alleged effort to decriminalize homosexuality abroad.
While several headlines gave him credit for acknowledging Pride Month for the first time, there’s one problem: Trump still didn’t actually proclaim June as Pride Month.
Hours after Trump sent his tweets, the White House confirmed that Trump had signed multiple presidential proclamations recognizing various celebrations during the month of June, as he has every year. These include:
- National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
- Great Outdoors Month
- National Homeownership Month
- African American Music Appreciation Month
- National Ocean Month
But like he has the previous two years, Trump did not officially proclaim Pride Month. In 2017, BuzzFeed asked the White House every day of June why it had ignored Pride Month, and never received a response.
The White House separately posted a statement on Saturday — not a presidential action — that quoted Trump’s Friday tweets verbatim.
….on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2019
Trump’s tweets were widely ballyhooed, given they came the same day his State Department announced a panel to impose “natural law” on human rights. “Natural law” is a code religious conservatives often use to impose their religious beliefs about women and LGBTQ people in some sort of non-religious disguise. For example, when “natural law” conservatives argued against allowing same-sex couples to marry, they claimed that since children only come from man-woman couples, that must mean they deserve man-woman parents, and thus the law should only recognize such families.
The tweets also came just a week after the administration confirmed it would be dismantling the last remaining federal protections for transgender people, which prohibited discrimination against them in health care and in homeless shelters. Separately, the administration confirmed it was overturning another Obama-era protection that prohibited adoption and foster-care agencies from receiving federal funding if they discriminated against same-sex couples. And these are only the latest anti-LGBTQ actions Trump has taken.
Trump appeared to want credit for his administration’s campaign to decriminalize homosexuality abroad, but it’s not clear such a campaign even exists. Richard Grenell, the openly gay United States ambassador to Germany, first announced the effort in February. When Trump was asked about it at the time, though, he didn’t know anything about it.
As ThinkProgress previously explained, Grenell’s plan was geared toward reinforcing Islamophobia against Iran, a concept known as “homonationalism.” There’s no evidence, however, that the United States has applied any pressure whatsoever on its allies that criminalize homosexuality, like Saudia Arabia and United Arab Emirates. And under Trump, the United States actually voted against a United Nations resolution condemning the use of the death penalty to punish homosexuality.
In President Barack Obama’s eight Pride Month proclamations, he acknowledged LGBTQ families, the Stonewall Riots (celebrating 50 years this month), HIV, LGBTQ youth, workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, hate crime laws, LGBTQ health care, LGBTQ military personnel, LGBTQ seniors, conversion therapy, and the unique needs of transgender and gender nonconforming people. All of these are concepts Trump has either ignored or acted against.
At The Advocate, Neal Broverman explained Trump’s tweets as such: “Trump’s words are clear — disregard everything I’ve done to you, just be appreciative we don’t jail you or hang you from a noose.”