Last year on June 1, the president’s Twitter was abuzz with talk of “unmasking and surveillance,” the decision to leave the Paris climate accord, and fallout from the inscrutable “covfefe” affair the day before. Absent was any recognition of LGBTQ Americans, who celebrate June as Pride Month. The month elapsed with no mention, no presidential proclamation, no photo op with an upside-down rainbow flag.
A year has passed, and we’re at June 1 again. So far, no word from the president. Let’s hope it stays that way. Any acknowledgment from President Trump would be nothing more than a box ticked — and an easy out for people who purport to be allies of the LGBTQ community yet still stand by the president: “Look, he’s an ally, too!” The queer community has no interest in such a fig leaf as the president systematically disregards its people.
The reality is that however personally tolerant Trump may be of queer people, he’s an administrative antagonist. He tried to reinstate a ban on transgender military service members. He’s nominated anti-LGBTQ federal judges. His administration has sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop, the bakery that refused a gay couple looking for a wedding cake. He fired everyone on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, a disease that disproportionately affects LGBTQ people. The list goes on.
Other marginalized demographics have had to stomach this disingenuousness as Trump has tepidly acknowledged longer-standing recognitions such as Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. The proclamations are niceties that he and his supporters can point to when he’s rightfully charged with racism. With LGBTQ people, whose mainstream acceptance has yet to take root quite as deeply (especially for the black and brown queer folks who do some of the community’s heaviest lifting), it’s just as well that the president dispense with the pleasantries. We know he’s not with us; straight people may as well know, too.
And within the community, LGBTQ people now get to avoid the division a Trump proclamation would foment. Were an executive recognition of Pride to be issued, the Peter Thiels and Log Cabin Republicans of the queer community, whose whiteness alone allows them to buy into Trump in the first place, would have new illusions to entertain: Trump’s coming around! Last year was just a blip! He was afraid to rattle his base!
This second annual snub pushes everyone in the community a little closer together, and perhaps it will open the eyes of conservative white gays unaffected by many of Trump’s policies. In this omission, they’re set side by side with the trans people Trump bars, the queer black communities he makes miserable and the LGBTQ Latino people he seeks to deport.
In the end, a little extra indignation could help the LGBTQ community stretch some Pride muscles that have perhaps begun to atrophy. Queer people, like many other oppressed groups, have always agitated, throwing bricks and making a ruckus, but as acceptance has spread — marked no more clearly than by big brands’ corporatizing of Pride — some of the more privileged sectors of the community have rested on their laurels. Trump’s omission, petty as it is, should be a mobilizing reminder that there’s still a ways to go and plenty of people who think there’s nothing to be proud of.