by Eric Dolente
Rainbow-colored banners and flags cover the month of June from parades in the streets of cities across the country, to social media outlets in solidarity and “Pride” for those who are members and supporters of the LGBTQ community.
One member of our country who failed to acknowledge June’s month of Pride, however, was our very own President, Donald J. Trump. You would think the most powerful man in the free world would at least mention it, considering 14 percent of the LGBTQ community voted for President Trump in the 2016 Election.
What he did mention on May 31, though, was that the month of June would be: National Home Ownership Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Ocean Month and Great Outdoors Month. Now, I am not going to give Trump the benefit of the doubt because he “forgot.” Recently Trump also declared that June 14th would be National Flag Day and that very week would be National Flag Week, yet still no mention about Pride Month.
What is quite ironic about his proclamations is that the latter two recognitions (Ocean Month and Great Outdoors Month) have to do with the environment, which Trump does not willingly support. In his first 100 Days, Trump had in fact overturned numerous environmental plans set in place by former president, Barack Obama, including a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Pride Month was first established to honor the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York. In result “Pride Day” was to be celebrated the last Sunday of June, but it instead turned into a month-long celebration of the rights of LGBTQ citizens. The month was formally established Gay and Lesbian Pride Month by former president Bill Clinton on June 2, 2000. Barack Obama reignited the tradition during his presidency in 2011 after George W. Bush ignored the proclamation.
In a world where the envisioned rights of LGBTQ people are becoming a reality, it is difficult to stop this “runaway train” by those who oppose equal rights of fellow Americans based on their sexual preference.
The fight is all about one aim: equality. By simply not acknowledging one single month out of the year, Trump is enabling the homophobic population to be stuck in their orthodox ways and feel resentment against people who want the same rights and treatment that they receive. Sadly, you cannot teach old dogs new tricks. Once people are stuck in their ways, it is arduous to change their belief system just because new laws — In this case, a Supreme Court ruling that legalized same sex marriage in 2015 — have been set in stone.
What is interesting to take note of is Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, tweeted on June 1: “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.”
Ivanka Trump has stood against her father on a few issues, including the Paris Agreement that she pushed restlessly for until the United States’ withdraw on June 1.
Was this a poor attempt by the current Trump Administration to cover their obvious ignorance? Or was it simply a secular statement by the First Daughter? Nevertheless, President Trump and his administration have yet to publish a formal statement regarding Pride Month as June comes to an end. Trump’s silence is evidence of his lack of care for the minority populations in this country who are marginalized daily. This is especially so during a pivotal time period where all minorities are fighting for equality.
On June 12, Trump also tweeted a remembrance of those killed in the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, which marked a year since the tragic shooting. Was Trump ignorant of the fact that it was a gay nightclub? Was his tweet more so to remember a terrorist act? I wonder what the LGBTQ men and women that died in the club that night would feel or say if they were alive today to see that their president would not peep a word about Pride Month?
Even though Trump was silent, the American people were not. Our country has become more accepting of the LGBTQ community and Pride Month will continue to make a difference until all 12 months out of the year are celebrating pride and equal rights of LGBTQ people.
Eric Dolente is a Local intern. He’s a graduate of SCH Academy and will attend Emerson College in the fall.