Trump Disregards LGBT Pride Month

Courtesy photo

President Donald Trump has once again proven he’s no ally to the LGBT community as he refuses to proclaim June as LGBT Pride Month.

He did, however, take the time to declare other proclamations for the month, dubbing June 2017 as Great Outdoors Month, National Caribbean-Heritage Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Ocean Month and National Homeownership Month.

Incidentally, Trump declared Great Outdoors and National Ocean Month at the same time he pulled out of the Paris climate accord.

Considering Trump’s poor relationship with the LGBT community (despite repeated insistences of the opposite), his refusal to speak out for Pride Month perhaps comes as no surprise.

Shin Inouye, an openly gay former staff member under President Barack Obama, tweeted:

In February Trump’s administration rescinded an Obama administration guidance that protected transgender students in public schools from discrimination.

Vice President Mike Pence has long been an anti-LGBT figure, notably drawing criticism while serving as Indiana governor and signing a religious freedom bill that largely discriminated against LGBT people. Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), in 2015. The law allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of religious freedom. After pressure from big businesses that refused to do business in Indiana due to the bill’s discriminatory nature (including Eli Lilly and Co., No. 16 on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), Pence signed an amendment that said businesses cannot turn people away based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, Pence’s amendment did nothing to protect LGBT people from discrimination that already existed prior to RFRA. Today, Indiana still does not protect LGBT people from discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, hate crimes, public accommodations, school anti-bullying, education and transgender healthcare, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Despite Trump and Pence’s documented histories of anti-LGBT views, many people slammed the president for once again marginalizing the LGBT community.

Former President Bill Clinton was the first to issue a proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride Month. His successor, former President George Bush, did not continue this tradition. When former President Barack Obama took office he picked up Clinton’s old tradition, issuing a proclamation every year from 2009 through 2016.

In addition to issuing proclamations, Obama also hosted receptions at the White House in light of Pride Month. This tradition is not likely to continue in Trump’s White House.

However, the Washington Blade reported, LGBT groups within certain federal agencies will host their own Pride events. According to the Blade, these agencies include the Pentagon, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice.

Trump kicked off his presidency in a similar fashion: by making it known through the White House website how he feels about the LGBT community. The very same day Trump was sworn in, any mention of LGBT rights was removed from the page.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka tweeted on June 1 to express her alleged support for the LGBT community.

But Ivanka Trump’s “friends” in the LGBT community largely did not appreciate the empty sentiment — including Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, who slammed the first daughter in a series of tweets.

Others also criticized the tweets.

Despite the disappointment (but not surprise) that Trump did not acknowledge LGBT Pride Month, his other proclamations suggest that they are baseless and do not actually indicate support. National Oceans and Great Outdoors Month both raise eyebrows not only due to the ironic timing but because of Trump’s stance on environmental rights. When Trump took office his administration erased all mention of climate change on the White House website. And Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a known climate change skeptic. While serving as attorney general for Oklahoma Pruitt led 14 lawsuits against the EPA.

The president’s proclamation designating June as African-American Music Month is also odd given his strained relationship with the Black community and his blunders surrounding Black History Month.

To kick off Black History Month Trump hosted a “listening session” for his African American supporters and administration members including Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Omarosa Manigault, who focuses on public engagement for the White House.

The day began with a breakfast event that was open to the media, where Trump shared limited knowledge of Black history.

“I am very proud now that we have a museum where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things,” Trump said. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

During a press conference following the breakfast, a reporter asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer what the president meant regarding his comment on Douglass.

Spicer said, “I think he wants to highlight the contributions he has made. And I think through a lot of the actions and statements he’s going to make, I think that the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”

It was unclear if Trump and Spicer were aware that Douglass passed away a very long time ago.

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