For the first two years of his administration, President Trump failed to acknowledge June as the official pride month of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. But this year, one day before the start of LGBT Pride, the President tweeted the following:
“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”
But why would Trump – clearly not a globalist – want to get involved in the international human rights of sexual minorities? Since he took office, the President has failed to make friends with LGBT activists in the United States, almost immediately rolling back Obama-era policies within the Department of Education for gender non-conforming students to use the bathroom of their choice, while placing a ban on military service for transgenders. Most recently, his administration has resisted the Equality Act, which passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives but will ultimately be killed in the Senate before reaching his desk.
At the same time, Trump has prioritized religious liberty over LGBT rights by instituting the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, creating a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the department of Health and Human Services that is focusing on “vigorously and effectively” enforcing “existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.”
In short, the LGBT lobby isn’t buying it. Immediately after Trump’s May 31 tweet, Human Rights Campaign president, Chad Griffin, responded:
“You can’t celebrate Pride and constantly undermine our rights — including attacking #TransHealth, discharging #TransTroops, refusing to protect LGBTQ youth, and cozying up to dictators who brutalize & marginalize LGBTQ people.”
Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson expressed similar frustration in his commentary on Trump’s tweet: “Not mentioned by Trump is the 50th anniversary this year of the Stonewall riots, the historic LGBT rights event upon which Pride is based. Pride celebrations have been held each year to recognize Stonewall, starting with New York City’s Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1970.”
One has to wonder if the President’s initiative is an effort to extend an olive branch to the LGBT community after securing his conservative, Christian base for the first two years he's been in office? If so, this could end up backfiring on him if the LGBT lobby views this new campaign as merely an exploitation of international sexual minorities intended to strengthen Trump’s global position. But exploitation is nothing new for the LGBT community. It’s been happening for over fifty years.
While president’s Clinton and Obama (who designated the Stonewall Inn as a national landmark in 2016) looked at Stonewall with a certain nostalgia in year’s past, none of this was mentioned in Trump’s tweet – perhaps for good reason. The history of Stonewall is not good.
Historian David Carter said it well in his book, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution, when he spoke about the plight of homosexuals in the age of Stonewall. “The irony is that for almost the entirety of that decade, homosexual men and women, far from experiencing a great burst of freedom, found themselves in the worst legal position they had been in since the republic’s birth.”
Exploitation by the Mafia and corruption within the police became the norm in Greenwich Village’s premier gay club in the 1960s. The Mafia-controlled establishment provided monthly financial kickbacks to the chief of police, who then carefully orchestrated raids on the homosexual establishment early in the evening, on weekdays, where few patrons would be present, thus minimizing the establishment’s financial loss. In exchange, the Mafia provided watered-down liquor and deplorable bathroom conditions in the tiny bar, while raking in enormous profits off the backs of the homosexual community.
But in late June 1969, on the coattails of the civil rights movement, the modern gay rights movement began one night when homosexual men and women had enough of the exploitation and began to resist. Fighting back against police brutality, the patrons rioted for several nights against law enforcement, who quickly lost control of the residents in the neighborhood. What resulted was six nights of protests, which later led to various activist groups within the community organizing to help gays and lesbians fight for equality.
Within several months of the uproar, official organizations and several newspapers were established in New York City to support the gay and lesbian community, and the following year, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to commemorate what later became known as the “Stonewall riots.”
In my new book: The War on Psychotherapy: When Sexual Politics, Gender Ideology, and Mental Health Collide, I trace the history of LGBT exploitation by those in power, beginning with the events leading up to the Stonewall riots and into the 1970’s, when activists within the American Psychiatric Community (APA) successfully removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Sadly, I believe the decision to declassify homosexuality from the DSM has done very little to improve the mental health of sexual and gender minorities; and history is now repeating itself with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent decision to remove transgenderism from its classification as a mental disorder.
On May 29, the WHO International Classification of Disease’s eleventh edition (ICD-11) placed issues of gender incongruence under a chapter on sexual health, defining gender incongruence as a “marked and persistent incongruence between a person’s experienced gender and assigned sex.” Undoubtedly, LGBT activists within the APA will soon move to do the same in the next revision of the DSM.
In The War on Psychotherapy, I describe this as the consequence of a sexual culture war being fought on the mental health battlefield. The result of these policies is the continued politicalizing of sexual and gender identity in mental health. Tragically, our precious children are now being exploited as a consequence of this erosion.
It is now illegal in many parts of the country to offer any type of psychotherapy that does not affirm a minor’s homosexuality or gender confusion – even if those feelings cause the child significant distress and he/she wishes to resolve them with a licensed therapist.
Just last week, Maine and Colorado became the 17thand 18th states to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for clients under the age of 18 seeking licensed therapy to work through sexual and gender identity conflicts. These states join over 45 cities and several countries that have passed legislation to limit the therapeutic rights of sexual and gender minorities.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, expert pediatrician on gender issues, and executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, describes the reality of this new sexual and gender ideology in the preface of my new book:
The crux of the matter is that while the transition-affirming movement purports to help children, it is inflicting a grave injustice on them . . . These professionals are using the myth that people are born transgender to justify engaging in massive, uncontrolled, and unconsented experimentation on children who have a psychological condition that would otherwise resolve after puberty in the majority of cases . . . [and]are pushing children to impersonate the opposite sex, sending many of them down the path of puberty blockers, sterilization, the removal of healthy body parts, and untold psychological damage. These harms constitute nothing less than institutionalized child abuse. Sound ethics demand an immediate end to the use of pubertal suppression, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgeries in children and adolescents, as well as an end to promoting gender ideology via school curricula and legislative policies.
Without a strong commitment towards freedom in the United States for all sexual minorities, political ideology will continue to be used as a weapon in the broader culture war against these groups internationally; and while President Trump’s global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality sounds like a noble plan, it ignores the harsh realities affecting those who are struggling with sexual and gender identity in America. The truth is, our own country’s families and communities need healing, Mr. President; and politics continue to divide us. For the sake of our children, let’s get to work at home.
Christopher Doyle is a licensed professional counselor and the executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families (www.InstituteforHealthyFamilies.org). He is the author of The War on Psychotherapy: When Sexual Politics, Gender Ideology, and Mental Health Collide.