For the first time in many years, Pride Month passed without a mention by the president of the United States.
The LGBT-visibility effort was heralded by proclamations, speeches and even celebrations at the White House by former President Barack Obama and many members of his administration.
This year? Radio silence.
While President Trump’s cold shoulder to LGBT Pride drew the ire of some, it also reinforces the point — which may be needed — that Trump is far from being a friend to the LGBT community, a title he has tried to adopt. Trump supporters who also purport to support LGBT equality have been quick to point to photos of Trump on the campaign trail holding a rainbow flag (albeit upside-down) as evidence that the commander-in-chief is an ally. That staged photo op and the lack of any overt attacks on LGBT people — which have colored Trump’s interactions with most other marginalized communities — seem, to some Trump backers, to suggest the president is LGBT-friendly.
However, this pipe dream collapses when compared to the reality that Trump started turning back trans rights almost as soon as he got into office, as well as appointed a sea of officials with robust anti-LGBT records. While some have decried the president’s intentional ignoring of Pride Month, perhaps it’s a move that should be welcomed.
Were Trump to have acknowledged LGBT Pride, he likely would have turned to his favorite outlet, Twitter. A Pride message would have taken all of 10 seconds to type out — and while it may have had long-lasting reverberations among his conservative base, it also would have contributed to the highly misguided trope that Trump is LGBT-friendly.
As LGBT acceptance continues to build among mainstream America, the community can’t afford to have voters who mistakenly think the president backs LGBT equality; such an inaccuracy could convince some Americans that they’re not betraying their LGBT family and friends by continuing to support Trump and his administration. That will be an especially salient topic come the midterm elections next year, as voters are given the opportunity to potentially reshape the Congress that will govern during the remainder of Trump’s term.
So thank you, President Trump, for ignoring Pride Month. Your silence speaks volumes.