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Ivanka Trump's Pride Tweets Don't Make Her an LGBT Ally

Ivanka Trump

Don’t you just imagine Ivanka Trump awake at night in bed, the light from her smartphone reflecting in those steely eyes, as she squints at responses to her Pride tweet?

She struggles to compute. Why don’t they like me?

Minutes earlier Ivanka Trump posted what perhaps she assumed would win her gratitude, for finally saying something — anything — about LGBT people that wasn’t shielded by anonymous sources. It’s actual praise for LGBT people with her brand, I mean name, right next to it.

“Logging back on after Shavuot, wishing everyone a joyful #Pride2017. This month we celebrate and honor the #LGBTQ community,” Ivanka wrote in a tweet Thursday, the first day of Pride Month.

Then moments later adding, “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.”

Support? 

Did she really just say support?

If this is what supporters look like, who needs opponents? 

The backlash was swift and overwhelming. One person tweeted a gif that now gives Ivanka the middle finger on a perpetual repeat. It was retweeted by transgender thought leader and author Jenny Boylan.

The Trumps have never had a reputation for being in touch with their fellow Americans; after all, most of us still don’t own anything gold-plated. But it’s inconceivable that any member of the Trump family and administration would dare to wish transgender people a “joyful Pride.” 

The Obama administration had advised America’s schools to treat people according to their gender identity. Now the Trump administration tells principals and teachers it’s OK to pretend trans people don’t exist. Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had to sign off before rolling back equality for trans people.

I suppose there’s an anonymously sourced story waiting to be published someplace that claims Ivanka and Jared Kushner were privately really upset about what Dad did to transgender kids. They’re just steamed, truly.

For months we’ve been regaled with breathless tales of Ivanka and Jared acting as the single best thing standing between us and Trump’s full-scale, Pence-inspired discrimination doctrine. Ivanka’s tweets about Pride Month will one day be referenced in yet another of these stories about her secret independence. 

The story will note that Daddy Trump opted not to issue the traditional Pride Month proclamation for June and isn’t hosting the usual Pride reception at the White House. It will imply that congratulations are owed to Ivanka Trump for tweeting what was not said by the White House — where she works and supposedly wields incredible influence. 

When President Trump was twice reported to be verging on signing a “religious freedom” executive order (which would’ve allowed federal workers to cite misinterpretations of Jesus Christ’s teachings as reason to not serve same-sex couples or transgender people), there were whispers in Washington media that Ivanka and Jared had saved us. Of course, they weren’t quoted in any article. And they never uttered a word publicly against the executive order, a copy of which was leaked and published by The Nation.

Something about those Pride tweets struck a nerve with LGBT people. We’re sick of being used by Ivanka Trump as a prop. The straight and cisgender media ought to take note, because they’re the ones falling for this trick. 

There are straight people who like to give themselves a very low bar for allyship and then pat themselves on the back for watching Modern Family without visibly wincing. The Trumps are exactly these kind of people. A real ally — someone who had actually given LGBT people their “support” — would say what they believe out loud, in public, with other people in the room. If you’re a politician, those other people should have notepads or audio recorders or, even better, video cameras. 

Don’t call yourself a supporter if you haven’t told a roomful of reporters that a “religious freedom” order is tantamount to legalizing discrimination. Don’t use a rainbow Pride hashtag and expect adulation if you haven’t first looked into a camera with the little red light on and said that ignoring a trans kid’s gender is dangerous and makes educators complicit in the rash of self-harm and suicide that can come as a result. 

While you’re at it, maybe hold up a newspaper headline and wave it furiously in the air, insisting the world pay more attention to what’s going on in Chechnya, where gay men are being rounded up and tortured or killed. Say for the record that it’s unacceptable. Say it’s time President Trump spoke out, maybe in his next Oval Office visit with a Russian diplomat.

LGBT people aren't myopic in understanding who is on our side. Standing up for LGBT principles means being against all forms of shame and standing up against President Trump's demagoguery of immigrants, who he wishes to send hiding in the shadows. We won't let the president scaremonger against Muslims, not when we've been made monsters our whole lives. It means standing up to his sexism, his bullying, or that of his complicit assortment of Cabinet members.

The first Pride march in 1970 happened when gay sex was criminalized, when being gay was classified as a mental disorder, when police brutality against LGBT people was commonplace. Pride Month is a celebration of who we are and a recognition that it has been a risk to be out for much longer than it’s been legal to be married. So wave your rainbow flag. Dance if you want to.

Or march. The Los Angeles Pride parade is transformed into a Resist March on June 11. A national march will be held in Washington, D.C., on the same day. Allies are welcome. 

 

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LUCAS GRINDLEY is the editor in chief of The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @lucasgrindley or on Facebook.

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