By: Cari Hurley
During the first week of June, Buffalo will become a glittering, colorful spectacle of floats, drag queens, LGBT art, parties, and parade. June is Pride Month, the nationally-recognized celebration of LGBT history and the accomplishments of LGBT people. Pride Month became nationally recognized in 2000 under the Clinton administration and has become a symbol of acceptance and advocacy for LGBT people and their allies.
The tone of Pride Month seems to change every year for me, a bisexual woman, and other LGBT around the country; June has metamorphosed from a month of awareness to a month of celebration of political milestones in recent years. In 2012, the year after Gov. Cuomo passed the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in the state of New York just a few weeks after the 2011 Pride Parade, I marched in the parade with Williamsville North’s Gay Straight Alliance. It was also the year that then President Obama “came out” in support of marriage equality in an ABC News interview.
During the 2012 parade, I felt euphoric and the crowd was exuberant. I finally felt that my identity was validated and my new (and first!) same-sex relationship was acceptable in the eyes of the law. My years of self-torment were finally laid to rest. Just three years later, the United States Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that denying same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Again, this ruling was a few weeks after the Buffalo parade, but I can only imagine parade-goers’ joy the following year.
However, the advent of the Trump administration has brought much trepidation to LGBT people and their allies. Though President Trump touted that he was the biggest supporter of LGBT rights during his campaign, his administration has failed to show his alleged tolerance, especially towards transgender people. Trump’s missteps began immediately after entering office when his administration removed the White House’s LGBT internet page. As of June 2nd, it has still not been replaced.
The president has also nominated many anti-LGBT people to his cabinet, most notably, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who spearheaded the decision to withdraw President Obama’s directives for treatment of transgender students in schools just a month after President Trump took office. It goes without saying that our Vice President Mike Pence is dangerous to the LGBT community because of his longstanding history of issuing extremely offensive statements and supporting anti-LGBT actions, including the infamous Religious Freedom Restoration Act in his home state of Indiana during her career as governor.
Recently, the removal of questions about LGBT status from the 2020 Census has sparked anger in the LGBT community; how can the administration gauge the needs of the LGBT community when it cannot acknowledge its presence? Sad! For the sake of LGBT persons of the United States, I hope that the Trump administration will amend its actions and continue to protect all citizens of our country. Although I am sure the 2017 Pride Parade will be a joyous occasion for all, I cannot help acknowledging the gradual disintegration of LGBT protections.