For the first time in eight years, there will be no official LGBTQ Pride Month. The now-sixteen year old tradition began with President Clinton, and was continued by President Obama for each year of his two terms. Though Donald Trump once had a reputation for being not-entirely-unfriendly toward the gay community, it seems he has declined to include LGBTQ Pride in his list of several other communities honored with a proclamation.
Some of the communities that did make the list include Caribbean-American Heritage, Homeowners, African American Music, and even The Ocean.
Critics were quick to tie the lack of an LGBTQ Pride Month to Trump’s shifting track record on gay rights. The Daily Dot reports that Nancy Pelosi stated, “LGBT Americans face an assault on their rights from the White House and House Republicans, who are gutting HIV prevention and treatment initiatives, dismantling protections for transgender children in public schools and conspiring to render LGBT Americans invisible in the census.”
The news wasn’t lost on others, either. Twitter has lit up with responses to what is at best an oversight and at worst a sight that belies the Trump administration’s marked departure from President Obama’s progressive strides on gay rights.
One Twitter user, Matt McDermot, listed a number of the gains the LGBTQ community made under Obama, including the signing of the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Hate Crime Prevention Act; the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the endorsement of gay marriage by both President Obama and Vice President Biden; Justice Kennedy’s speech on marriage equality; and the dedication of the Stonewall Inn as a national monument.
He concluded by noting the Trump administration’s troubling track record on gay rights so far, including Trump’s silence on the gay purge in Chechnya that even Russia has recently said it will investigate, as well as a reference to Vice President Mike Pence’s history with so-called “conversion therapy.”
Trump’s stance on gay rights set him apart from much of the GOP as recently as last year and his campaign team made much of his mention of the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech. Trump also tried to reassure GBLTQ voters that marriage equality’s legal status wouldn’t come into question. Nevertheless, Trump’s proximity to Pence has overshadowed that history. In contrast to Trump’s advocacy for AIDS and HIV awareness in the ’80s and ’90s, Pence’s prejudices against needle exchanges as the governor of Indiana, where the opioid epidemic has been raging, led to a spike in AIDS cases. Though that doesn’t directly relate to the LGBTQ community, other aspects of Pence’s rap sheet do.
Pence, after all, opposed reauthorizing the Ryan White Care Act which provides federal funding for HIV and AIDS patients, citing concerns about “organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” and instead favoring “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” He also signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, and has expressed opposition to laws protecting gay and transgender Americans from discrimination.
It seems Trump isn’t the only one who has garnered the ire of gay Twitter. Netflix cancelled the show Sense8 today, a show lauded for its diversity and inclusivity and directed by trans sisters Lana and Lilly Wachowski.
All in all, it’s been a tough day for the LGBTQ community.