The Implications Behind Trump’s Failure to Acknowledge Pride Month Last Year


James Snyder

Amelia Volpe ’21 thinks that President Trump should recognize Pride Month and “the millions of people who deserve to be happy.”

The White House’s failure to acknowledge June as Pride Month under Donald Trump’s presidency last year was not the first decision of his that has received criticism. In fact, his controversial comments towards women (such as the Acccess Hollywood tape) and his discrimination against Muslims (with his proposed travel ban) have garnered worldwide attention and criticism. Though these issues are discussed more often in the media, Pride Month is nonetheless worthy of attention.

June was established as Pride Month in 2009 under President Bill Clinton’s administration as a way to honor the victims of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. During the 1960s, it was common for police across the United States to raid gay bars and arrest customers. The rising tensions between conservatives and the gay community ignited a riot on June 28, 1969, and the police decided to attack Stonewall Inn bar-goers, leading to riots for the next few days. Residents of Greenwich Village and bar-goers both contributed to efforts in combating homophobia in the following years. Activist organizations and newspapers formed to spread awareness, but it was not until the 1970s that the first pride marches took place.

As president, Trump should be supportive of these communities in the United States, but his actions merely indicate that he has neglected the LGBTQ+ community.”

President Barack Obama also recognized June as Pride Month. Other than President Trump, President George W. Bush was the only other president who did not recognize this month as Pride Month. Many, however, view Trump’s silence of Pride Month as a direct contradiction against his campaign promises, when he tweeted that he would “fight for [the LGBTQ+ community],” while Hillary Clinton would “threaten [their] freedoms and beliefs.” Trump even promised to protect LGBT+ people when he was nominated by the Republican Party.  

He went back on that promise when he attempted to pass laws banning transgender people from serving in the military, nominated anti-LGBTQ+ judicial officials, and repealed legislation that protected transgender workers. “As president, Trump should be supportive of these communities in the United States,” Nathaniel Lentz ’19 said, “but his actions merely indicate that he has neglected the LGBTQ+ community.”

The campaign promises Trump that made have helped him to secure the public’s approval and have differentiated him from the more socially conservative Republicans, especially among conservative LGBTQ+ members, 14% of whom voted for Trump in the 2017 presidential election, according to National Public Radio. The majority of them agree with Republican economic policies and hoped that Trump would be more accepting of their community than other Republicans.

It is yet to be seen whether President Trump will acknowledge June as National Pride Month this year. It is certainly plausible that his administration has taken into account the criticism that he received during his first year as president and may seek to improve his approval rating since its decline earlier in the year. After all the toes he has stepped on, it would be within his best interests to tread carefully this year.

The LGBTQ+ rights movement has undoubtedly gained momentum in the past few decades. But without the support of the President of the United States, further progress is difficult. “It’s imperative for Trump, as president, to respect the opinions of others that do not align with his,” said Amelia Volpe ’21. “Although he is a conservative, he should still recognize the millions of people who deserve to be happy, something the president shouldn’t take away.”