The US Secretary of State has released a statement in support of Pride Month – even though Donald Trump has abolished the annual proclamation of the event.
President Obama issued annual Proclamations recognising the month of June as LGBT Pride Month, and hosted LGBT festivities inside the White House.
However, the tradition of Pride Month celebrations in the White House appears to have been ended under Trump.
The Republican leader released proclamations marking June as “National Homeownership Month”, “National Ocean Month”, “African-American Music Appreciation Month” and “Great Outdoors Month” – but no such Proclamation was released for LGBT Pride Month.
However, in a break from the White House, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did issue a statement this week.
Secretary Tillerson, a wealthy former oil exec appointed to the job by Trump, said human rights would “continue to drive US diplomacy”, despite failing to bring up the persecution of gay men in Chechnya in his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He wrote: “In recognition of LGBTI Month, the Department of State affirms its solidarity with the human rights defenders and civil society organizations working around the world to uphold the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI persons to live with dignity and freedom.
“We also recognize that LGBTI persons continue to face the threat of violence and discrimination. Violence and discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security as well as American values.
“When all persons are protected on the basis of equality and with dignity, global stability is strengthened. We will continue to support the human rights of LGBTI persons together with like-minded governments, businesses, and civil society organizations globally.
“The United States remains committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons.
“Dignity and equality for all persons are among our founding constitutional principles, and these principles continue to drive U.S. diplomacy.”
No LGBT Pride Month events at the White House have been announced, though Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen did recently hold a media event to publicly unveil a beehive.
In response to Trump’s snub, the Human Rights Campaign has released its own unofficial Proclamation, skewering Trump’s record on LGBT rights and marking June 2017 as #UniteResistEnlist Month.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also knocked the Trump administration in her own Pride Month statement.
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She said: “As we mark LGBT Pride Month, we honor the LGBT leaders who have striven to build a more just society for all, and recognize the struggles and sacrifices they have endured in the fight for equality.
“This month, we celebrate their triumphs and remember that our Founders’ creed – that all are created equal – is not inevitable; that we must work every day to forge a more just, inclusive and perfect union.
She added: “Tremendous progress has been achieved, but the journey is far from over. LGBT Americans face an assault on their rights from the White House and House Republicans, who are gutting HIV prevention and treatment initiatives, dismantling protections for transgender children in public schools and conspiring to render LGBT Americans invisible in the census.”
“These hateful, discriminatory attacks dishonor our nation’s most sacred ideals of liberty and make passage of the Equality Act – which would bring the full force of the Civil Rights Act to secure equality for LGBT people – even more urgent. This bill is about respect and pride, not mere tolerance, and House Democrats will not relent until it has been made law.
“The slain San Francisco Supervisor and civil rights leader Harvey Milk once said, ‘Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.’
“In that spirit, let us raise our voices – in city halls and state capitols; in Congress and the Supreme Court – to fight for the equal dignity that every American is entitled to under our Constitution. And let our voices never falter or fall silent, until we have built a safer, more just and more hopeful future for all.”