President Trump failed to mention the LGBT community in his World AIDS Day proclamation, drawing criticism from several prominent civil rights organizations.
"Today, on World AIDS Day, we honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, we celebrate the remarkable progress we have made in combatting this disease, and we reaffirm our ongoing commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat," Trump said in his official statement marking the day of remembrance.
Unlike previous administrations' proclamations on World AIDS Day that explicitly mentioned LGBT groups and communities that are disproportionately affected by the disease, Trump's statement made no mention of the groups.
The proclamation prompted backlash from a number of groups.
Scott Schoettes, a project director at the legal advocacy group Lambda Legal criticized the proclamation in a statement to BuzzFeed.
"Not only did the White House statement on World AIDS Day fail to mention the population in which two-thirds of HIV cases in the US occur — gay and bisexual men — it also failed to point out the disproportionate impact in communities of color, for gay and bisexual men of color, particularly young men of color, or for transgender women," he said.
The Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT advocate, also voiced its concerns on Twitter.
.@RealDonaldTrump's #WorldAIDSDay proclamation is missing a few things:— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) November 30, 2017
-It doesn't mention the marginalized communities disproportionately affected by HIV & AIDS--like #LGBTQ, Black & Latinx people.
-He’s touting programs that he’s proposing to significantly reduce funding for
Trump has worked to roll back some of the Affordable Care Act's protections of LGBT individuals against discrimination and favored a ban on transgender soldiers from serving in the armed forces, moves that have made many LGBT activists wary of the administration's policies.
"Trying to erase LGBTQ people from the history of HIV/AIDS is another slap in the face," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Joel Kasnetz. "In his first year in office, Trump hasn’t missed an opportunity to be cruel to the LGBTQ community and the millions living with HIV all over the world.”
Eleven months into his presidency, Trump has yet to appoint someone to head the Office of National AIDS Policy, or put up a new government website for the office, BuzzFeed found.