Donald Trump manages to forget about the LGBT community on World AIDS Day
President Trump has given a statement to mark World AIDS day that somehow does not feature a single mention of the LGBT+ community.
In a signed statement on the White House website, President Trump has said: “Today, on World AIDS Day, we honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in combatting this disease, and we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat.”
Trump continued: “Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, more than 76 million people around the world have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS.
“As of 2014, 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. On this day, we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS.”
This statement stands in comparison to President Obama’s final World AIDS Day address where he urged then President-elect Trump to maintain HIV/AIDS prevention work and highlighted the impact of HIV on the LGBT+ community.
As LGBT+ people are disproportionally affected by HIV/AIDS, previous presidents have used their World AIDS Day proclamations as an opportunity to reach out to the LGBT community.
President Obama explicitly mentioned the LGBT+ community in his 2016 statement, saying: “In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV.
“Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk.”
Unlike Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, Trump did not release any policy information regarding HIV/AIDS prevention during his campaign, prompting concern about funding early on.
As of December 1, there is no information on the White House’s website for the Trump administration’s Office of National AIDS policy.
Despite claiming to “maintain current commitments” the Trump administration submitted proposals early this year to remove $350 million from HIV/AIDS prevention budgets.
HIV/AIDS prevention is not a partisan issue, with former President George W. Bush heavily criticising President Trump’s proposals.
President Trump’s failure to mention the LGBT+ community in this statement has been met with significant criticism.
One of the former members of the President’s advisory committee on HIV/AIDS, Scott Schoettes said in response: “Not only did the White House statement on World AIDS Day fail to mention the population in which two-thirds of HIV cases in the U.S. occur—gay and bisexual men—it also failed to point out the disproportionate impact in communities of color, for gay and bisexual men of color, particularly young men of color, or for transgender women.”
Schoettes was one of several high profile HIV/AIDS campaigners to resign from the advisory committee earlier this year due to President Trumps alleged regressive views on HIV/AIDS.
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The Trump administration has established its tenuous relationship with the LGBT+ community throughout Trump’s campaign and his first year of presidency.
Since election day, Trump has removed rights for trans kids, banned trans soldiers from the military, appointed an anti-LGBT Supreme Court justice, endorsed a Republican who wants to make homosexuality illegal, hired an Army Secretary who says trans people are diseased, proposed slashing HIV AIDS funding, signed an order permitting anti-LGBT discrimination at work, removed opposition to North Carolina’s anti-trans bathroom bill, addressed a recognised hate group gathering and refused to acknowledge LGBT History Month.
At the side of Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence has his own record of intolerance against the LGBT community.
As Governor of Indiana, Pence stood in the way of expanding HIV services and preventative measures like needle exchanges – until he was forced to declare a public health emergency due to a sharp rise in transmissions.
Pence also previously suggested that HIV prevention funding should be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.