Last year, President Barack Obama designated a National Stonewall Monument to commemorate the uprising in New York City and the LGBT community that fought back for equality. Less than a year later, President Donald Trump’s administration refused to support it and wouldn’t attend the ceremony.
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System,” Obama said in a June 2016 White House blog post. “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
An email that went out to the entire White House subscriber’s list called it “our first national monument to honor the struggle for LGBT rights.”
Trump’s White House took another route. According to Andy Humm of Gay City News, when the administration “saw the pre-publicity on the ceremony, the National Park Service under Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior worked to certify that the flagpole adjacent to Christopher Park was not technically on federal land so that no Rainbow Flag would be flying on US government property.”
The representative at the Interior Department who had been working on the monument dropped out of attending the ceremony at the last minute.
“The National Park Service’s Barbara Applebaum, who arranged the permit for the event, dropped out as a speaker at the ceremony — her office citing a schedule conflict — and organizers of the event said in a release that the Park Service dropped its sponsorship of the event for which it had issued the permit to veteran gay activist Michael Petrelis,” Humm wrote Tuesday.
There is now a dispute over whether the flagpole is in fact on federal land or not.
“This is an unbelievably petty, sleazy, transparent bit of cruelty by the Trump administration,” Ann Northrop, who is set to preside over the dedication, told Humm. “Evidently we are so filthy to them and their right-wing supporters that they can’t even be associated with a few yards of rainbow fabric.”
Ken Kidd, who has worked as a central organizer of the project, said that it’s just more of what LGBT Americans have seen from the Trump administration.
“We’re being told at every turn — including Trump’s first decision to appoint [Mike] Pence — that actions will be taken to make us second-class citizens again,” Kidd told Humm. “The very idea that taxpayer dollars were spent researching a flagpole on a national monument when there are so many other things at stake in the country is an outrage. Some employee of the Park Service or Interior read that Newsweek preview article on this because Donald Trump’s name was mentioned by me. They are so thin-skinned and so bigoted that they were going to spite us and not let that Rainbow Flag fly on federal property.”
President Donald Trump ran for office claiming he would support the LGBT community and protect them from the terrorism seen at the Pulse Night Club in 2016. Since then, Trump has rolled back LGBT protections in Obamacare, he’s banned transgender soldiers from serving in the U.S. armed forces and has hired openly homophobic political leaders to his cabinet.