Students weigh in on celebrating Pride Month under the Trump administration

Image Source: The Independent

By Giorgina McKay | @ggmckay11 

US President Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge June as Pride Month for the second year in a row.

June has been host to month-long celebration and festivity for the LGBTQIA+ community since 1970.

It has been a tradition for the current serving president to recognise or commemorate the month in some shape or form.

But unlike his predecessors, Trump has made no gesture to celebrate or acknowledge pride month, let alone the queer community at all.

For those familiar with the Trump administration, this behaviour comes as no surprise.

Within his first 100 days of being elected into office, Donald Trump had all information on the LGBTQIA+ community removed from the White House’s official website, dismantled all Obama-ordered protections, and drafted an alleged executive order to legalise broad discrimination.

These actions have caused high tensions to arise between the two groups, and has led LGBTQIA+ individuals to feel unsafe.

“The [Trump] administration has made me feel threatened, as their incorrect and deep-rooted beliefs do not recognise my life as one that deserves to be lived,” queer student John Valdrez said.

“It [the Trump administration] seeks to erase anything that falls outside of their prejudiced, narrow-minded boundaries.”

Mr Valdrez, an active celebrator of Pride Month, said it is an important time of the year and must be recognised.

“It is highly important to have Pride Month, as history has shown that LGBTQIA+ narratives have always been erased… and having a month dedicated to being visible, heard, and proud helps the community to be at the forefront of the conversation, even if for just a month,” he said.

Pride Month is not only a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to openly celebrate, but a time to commemorate the strides the world has made towards equality.

“Pride events are a highlight of the LGBT calendar, and a valuable opportunity for diverse groups of people to come together, celebrate the progress we have made and renew our commitment to fight for true equality for all LGBT people,” a spokesperson from LGBTQIA+ charity Stonewall said.

Last year a record-breaking 40,000 people were expected to march in the New York City Pride Parade.

With many more expected to participate in events and parades around the world this year, it highlights the significance of Pride Month.

“I think it is important to have and celebrate Pride Month, that way it gives everyone a chance to feel like they shouldn’t be scared for who they are or who they love,” pansexual student Amber Rosenzweig said.

“I [personally] like it because it gives everyone a month where they can be proud for who they are.”

Both Mr Valdrez and Ms Rosenzweig also emphasised the importance of public figures giving acknowledgement to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“It is very important as they are from a place of power, and recognition from a place of power could help the community feel heard, supported, and respected as human beings,” Mr Valdrez said.

“If our government and such didn’t show that they acknowledge it [Pride Month] or care somewhat about it, how are we to feel like we are safe or even cared for? Why would I follow or agree with a public figure if they didn’t agree that I can love who I want to love?” Ms Rosenzweig said.

But despite the Trump administration’s refusal to acknowledge the month, both students said it would not stop them from celebrating.

“I still look at this month as a great month where people can be who they want and not feel afraid but accepted, and I don’t think my opinion will ever change,” Ms Rosenzweig said.

“To me, Pride Month means a way to be visible in a world that constantly tries to erase me and my identity, as well as making my fellow brothers and sisters feel uplifted and heard,” Mr Valdrez said.

“The [Trump] administration has definitely put a damper on the way I feel about Pride Month, but that will not stop me from being vocal and as proud as I can be during these trying times.”

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