It’s impossible to watch another Pride Month slip by without asking ourselves where LGBTQ rights stand today. Although Trump ran his 2016 campaign as though he were a friend to LGBTQ individuals, it should be abundantly clear to all that it was nothing more than another of his countless lies. June 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots — and we will do our best to remember those who gave their lives to see the current LGBTQ movement grow so strong.
But not all is well, and there is still work to be done.
Significant strides began when Clinton drafted legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds or sexual orientation (in the government) and then went one step further to implement don’t ask don’t tell (although some believed it was just another way for people to discriminate). George W. Bush was largely silent on gay rights, but he openly opposed gay marriage. We saw the legalization of gay marriage under Obama.
Once again a Republican in office has turned back the clock. Trump hasn’t made an proclamations to recognize June as Pride Month. Trump decided to draft legislation to kick trans folk out of the military. He’s even gone further than that by making it harder for LGBTQ individuals to afford health care or find safety in shelters. The administration has sought to both endorse those who harbor anti-LGBTQ sentiments and edit us out of government documents.
Even more damaging may have been the destruction of an Obama-era law by the Bureau of Prisons. In May last year the organization said that current inmates will be housed according to biological gender. Regard for personal identity no longer matters, which leaves these individuals less safe. Time and time again, Trump has altered old laws to reflect how they no longer extend to the LGBTQ community.
Some of these diminished freedoms were slashed because of the tired old “religious freedom” ideas that Trump seems to like so much. Basically all they do is allow the ultra-religious to discriminate legally.
Members of the LGBTQ community are among the most hated, even in 2019. We’re the most likely targets of hate crimes. This is true even considering the spike in violent crime against those of Muslim or Hispanic ethnic background beginning near the beginning of Trump’s campaign for the 2016 election. Violence against the LGBTQ community, especially transgender women, has risen substantially during the last two years of the Trump presidency. This isn’t a weird coincidence! We have a president who has quite literally been responsible for the deaths of ordinary, innocent American citizens — and half the country doesn’t seem to care at all.
Yes, we still have far to go.