June is Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, brings awareness to the struggles that members of the community face and brings attention to LGBTQ+ history. June was chosen as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which occurred from June 27 to July 4 of 1969 outside of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village after police raided the LGBTQ+ allied inn to arrest the minorities that were there — in particular black, trans women. Brenda Howard, also known as the “Mother of Pride,” is known for coining the term pride and created the first Pride March that eventually evolved into Pride Month.
The first official Pride Month was declared in 2000 by former president Bill Clinton, although it was known then as Gay & Lesbian Pride Month. The next president to formally declare the Pride Month was Barack Obama, who made an official proclamation every year of his two terms, and last year’s, in particular, was incredibly inspiring for many LGBTQ+ youth. After eight proclamations, people remained hopeful that Trump would also declare Pride Month at the start of June. Unfortunately, he has let down the LGBTQ+ community once again by not making any proclamation. He must have forgotten about his election trail claim that he would be “much better for the gays” than Hillary Clinton. In response to Trump's inaction in declaring Pride Month, here are the reactions of seven LGBTQ+ college students.
1. Paige Taylor, Sophomore Theatre Major, Ramapo College
"I am not surprised that he hasn't said anything about pride month. He obviously does not care about LGBTQ+ Americans. He has shown some fake support (by holding the LGBTQ+ flag upside down) and that was just to get more votes. The morning after the election I remember calling my mother because I was afraid of what would happen to the LGBTQ+ community in America. I told my mom about my fears and that's when I came out to her. Luckily, she was very supportive. I think that even though we have Trump and Pence in office, we will still have Pride Month and millions of people who support us."
Paige is a panromantic, cisgender woman. Paige's pronouns are she/her/hers.
2. Kez St. Louis, Junior Integrated Science Major, Ramapo College
"Pride is a movement that was started by queer and trans people of color, especially by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major. Although Pride has become commercialized in many ways, this month represents a strong root of our history that will never be forgotten. I'm not surprised that Donald Trump didn't recognize us, and even if he did, it wouldn't mean much to me. Our community will keep our history alive; Trump will only serve as a footnote compared to the future ahead of us. We need to focus on protecting, uplifting and empowering each other and the most marginalized, because the most vulnerable of us are the first targets to be silenced."
Kez is a trans guy who also considers himself partially nonbinary (gender-creative). He is a bi-asexual. He is also a queer and trans (black) person of color, or QTPOC for short. Kez uses he/him/his and they/their/them pronouns.
3. Michele O'Besso, Sophomore Music and Communication Arts Major, Ramapo College
"I believe that Trump being silent so far this month only further supports his true stance on the LGBTQ+ community. He held an upside down pride flag right before the election to show that he 'supported' the community. However, he has a vice president who fully supports gay conversion therapy,* a secretary of education who supports exclusion of LGBTQ+ students in schools and he has taken down the LGBTQ+ webpage from the White House website. To me, he's a person who does not support the community. While I feel its rude of him to stay silent so far this month to recognize our community, I would rather him say nothing than broadcast lies to the public."
Michele is a straight, trans woman. Michele's pronouns are she/her/hers.
*Mike Pence's spokesperson has denied he supports conversion therapy, though he once supported "federal funding for people to seeking to change their sexual behavior," according to Snopes.com
4. Catie Putnam, Sophomore History Major, Ramapo College
"Simply announcing that June is Pride Month is such a small thing, but the fact that Trump can't even do that really says a lot about how much he cares about LGBTQ+ people. But we'll have our own festivities as always and will never stop being proud. These next few years of his administration will definitely be difficult for our community so we have to be there for each other."
Catie is a bisexual, cisgender woman. Catie's pronouns are she/her/hers.
5. *Ben Collins, Freshman Undeclared Major, Hamilton College
"I don't really think it's that bad that Trump hasn't commented on Pride Month ... Truth be told, it makes sense for him. Presidential recognition of the month is fairly recent, it took Obama into his second term to do that. Trump is a Republican, and while the party isn't inherently homophobic, the LGBTQ+ community isn't really a part of his voter base in that respect. Finally, Trump is so entangled with his own scandals that a Pride Month statement would seem off color. I was never really convinced that Trump felt one way or another about the LGBTQ+ community. As a candidate, he was one of the few who didn't talk about reversing Obergefell v. Hodges the moment the decision was made. Mike Pence is a different story, but the vice president historically doesn't do very much (with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt). Even if the president was homophobic, the LGBTQ+ community is by its very nature a grassroots group, fighting the powers that be for decades through many hard-fought legal battles and protests. One president not recognizing pride month doesn't change that."
Ben is a gay, cisgender man. Ben's pronouns are he/him/his.
6. Sierra Wickam, Sophomore Social Work Major, Ramapo College
"I honestly didn't expect him to do anything, so I'm not surprised. It's clear that LQBTQ+ issues aren't at the forefront for him, which for me, personally, makes me feel more excluded and not as valued as, say, a straight, rich, cis white male. I don't think that his neglect and disrespect can stop us though, since we have a powerful voice and we've all joined together despite our differences and stereotypes before (ex. Pulse, pride parades, Stonewall). While it's not the best that we're being ignored, at least we're not being as actively targeted as other groups, and we all need to support each other."
Sierra is a bisexual, cisgender woman. Sierra uses she/her/hers pronouns.
7. Arielle Gordon, Junior Psychology Major, Ramapo College
"It really frustrates me that he hasn't addressed Pride Month, and it makes it really obvious all along that he was only feigning support for the LGBTQ+ community to get votes from delusion queer-identified folks who actually bought this shit."
Arielle is a lesbian, trans woman. Arielle uses she/her/hers pronouns.
In conclusion, it should come as no surprise that President Trump has yet to declare Pride Month. Quite frankly, it is safe to say he will not say anything about Pride Month this June or any other June while he is president. Everyone knows that Trump has made truly awful statements in regards to members of the LGBTQ+ community and the community as a whole, and his Vice President is also working against the LGBTQ+ community. With all of this hateful history, I do wonder if a declaration of Pride Month from him would be genuine. What is worse, a proclamation that's not genuine or no proclamation at all?
Lead Image Credit: Twitter
Editor's note: *A name has been changed to protect the identity of the contributor.