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Pride Month Met With LGBTQ Solidarity—and Tension

This year, Pride events have become opportunities for expressing disapproval of the Trump administration, but not everyone in the LGBTQ community is on board.
Image: Thousands Gather For Equality March For Unity And Peace In Washington DC
Demonstrators march past the White House during the Equality March for Unity and Peace on June 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community is facing a unique Pride Month experience. June typically represents a month of solidarity for LGBTQ people across the U.S., and in the past several years, it has also brought upon expanded rights for the community. However, partisanship and policy changes many consider unfavorable to LGBTQ people are threatening to cause a rift within the diverse group.

Demonstrators march past the White House during the Equality March for Unity and Peace on June 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.Zach Gibson / Getty Images

This year, Pride Month celebrations have become opportunities for expressing disapproval of the current administration. One such politically charged celebration, the Equality March for Pride and Unity, took place in the nation's capital on Sunday. According to its organizers, the event was an effort to "mobilize the diverse LGBTQ+ communities to peacefully and clearly address concerns about the current political landscapes and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals.”

That same day, Los Angeles' "Resist March," which replaced the city's historic Pride Parade, attracted Democratic politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters. Rep. Waters, according to Time, led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45.”

While some members of the LGBTQ community have seized the opportunity to rally against President Trump, others find themselves rallying against each other. Deplorable Pride, a Pro-Trump LGBTQ group, drew attention after its float application for the Charlotte Pride Parade in Charlotte, N.C. was rejected.

The group’s founder, Derek Van Cleve, told NBC Out in an email that the organization is now calling on its supporters to contact Charlotte Pride sponsors and “express their unhappiness in them supporting an organization that discriminates against Republicans.”

Related: LGBTQ Rights Marches: A Mix of Pride, Resistance

In a statement sent to NBC Out, the Charlotte Pride Board of Directors said, “As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the decision to deny [Deplorable Pride’s] application was made on several non-partisan grounds.”

A number of large LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), have mounted their disapproval of President Trump in the months since he's taken office.

“To be clear, equality is not a partisan value, it's an American value,” Stephen Peters, an HRC spokesman, told NBC Out. “But Donald Trump and Mike Pence are no friends of the LGBTQ community. From day one, they have attacked our progress and undermined the rights of countless Americans.”

In February, for example, the Trump administration revoked guidelines issued under former President Barack Obama that instructed schools to allow transgender students to use public facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms, that aligned with their gender identity. This reversal was widely assailed by LGBTQ advocacy groups, including HRC.

Related: How President Trump Has Impacted LGBTQ Rights

Most recently, the White House was criticized for failing to acknowledge LGBTQ Pride Month, which was recognized by the White House every year President Obama was in office. The Trump White House did, however, issue five separate proclamations recognizing June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Homeownership Month, Great Outdoors Month and National Ocean Month.

Despite divides, other groups remain optimistic concerning any fission within the LGBTQ community. Gregory T. Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, a national LGBTQ conservative group, views schisms in the community as inevitable.

“More generally, after the 2016 election, there has been a hyper-partisan polarization of electorates,” Angelo said. “And the LGBT community is no exception.”

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