State Department photo/ Public Domain(WASHINGTON) — The LGBT community and its allies are hoping that President Trump takes a cue from his top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, before it’s too late.
The former CEO and chairman of Exxon on Wednesday recognized June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month — something the president has yet to do, despite his predecessor Barack Obama doing so.
And the omission of June’s recognition as Pride Month was particularly curious to many people, considering the president recognized June as Great Outdoors Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Ocean Month and National Homeownership Month.
“In recognition of LGBTI Month, the Department of State affirms its solidarity with the human rights defenders and civil society organizations working around the world to uphold the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI persons to live with dignity and freedom,” Tillerson said in a statement.
Tillerson also addressed the discrimination and violence individuals who identify as LGBTI endure.
“We also recognize that LGBTI persons continue to face the threat of violence and discrimination,” he wrote. “Violence and discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security as well as American values. When all persons are protected on the basis of equality and with dignity, global stability is strengthened. We will continue to support the human rights of LGBTI persons together with like-minded governments, businesses, and civil society organizations globally.”
He continued, “The United States remains committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons. Dignity and equality for all persons are among our founding constitutional principles, and these principles continue to drive U.S. diplomacy.”
Tillerson is no stranger to supporting LGBT equality. A former national president of Boy Scouts of America, he was a vocal, instrumental and effective force in ending the ban on gay Scout leaders.
While the president has kept mum about Pride Month — which takes place in June because the Stonewall Riots happened in June 1969 — first daughter Ivanka Trump took to Twitter on June 1 to wish “everyone a joyful #Pride2017…this month we celebrate and honor the #LGBTQ community.”
A subsequent tweet read, “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.”
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