In June 1969, members of New York City’s gay community fought back against early-morning police raids at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. This powerful moment of resistance marked a turning point in the struggle for LGBTQ equality and led to June being celebrated as Pride Month around the world.
This is the third Pride Month since Trump took office in June 2017. Trump failed to acknowledge the first two, even as he officially proclaimed June to be “National Ocean Month” and “Great Outdoors Month,” among other things. This year, Trump finally managed to acknowledge Pride Month on Twitter: “As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals…. on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”
The global campaign Trump boasted about refers to an effort launched in February that is being led by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a rare openly gay member of the Trump administration. So far, it is unclear what, if any, effect this campaign is having. On June 11, Botswana’s High Court unanimously overturned 19th-century laws criminalizing homosexuality. But this landmark ruling was on account of a case filed in May 2018, for which Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi expressed his support later in the year, according to Reuters.
When it comes to Pride Month, Trump’s only “progress” appears to be his casual recognition of it this year. While it might seem like a baby step in the right direction, Trump was sure to cancel it out with an insulting leap backwards. Last year, the Trump administration told U.S. embassies they can no longer fly a rainbow flag during Pride Month without obtaining State Department approval. This year, the administration has denied all such approval requests, according to The Washington Post.
You would think that the United States, site of the Stonewall riots, would take the lead in promoting Pride Month around the world while advancing LGBTQ equality and inclusion here at home. But it has become increasingly clear that America will need to wait for Trump’s replacement to make Pride Month great again.