COLUMN: Trump pride shirt profits from LGBTQ pain


Charlie Dahle, a student at University High School of Indiana, holds a pride flag Jan. 19 during the Women's March in Indianapolis. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

June is Pride Month, and many companies are starting to produce delightfully colorful pride-themed merchandise. A lot can be said to criticize companies for capitalizing on Pride Month while ignoring—or actively working against—the LGBTQ community for the rest of the year, but this year there is an entirely new level of exploitative pride gear on the market.

I'm talking about the new "Trump Pride Tee:" a shirt on President Donald Trump's online store with a rainbow background that proclaims "LGBTQ for Trump." Not only is it a legitimately ugly shirt, it also highlights the hypocrisy of the current administration.

Trump has consistently supported anti-LGBTQ laws, politicians and judges, and the only “LGBTQ for Trump” are those who value their other privileges—namely white privilege—over the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Trump’s anti-LGBTQ agenda started the first day he was in office. The LGBTQ rights page was removed from the White House website, and the page on LGBTQ workers' protections vanished from the Department of Labor's site.

Scrubbing mentions of LGBTQ topics from government sites continued with the removal of the State Department’s apology for the Lavender Scare—the LGBTQ witch hunt of the 1950s and 60s.

The Trump administration has also consistently made it harder for LGBTQ people to access healthcare, something that is already difficult as is. Recently, a law was finalized that allows medical professionals to deny care based on religious or moral grounds.

Under this law, doctors would technically be allowed to, for example, deny care to a newborn with two mothers or discharge a transgender teen with clear suicidal ideation early after a full 24 hours of harassment.

Trump has also done much to expand the right of employers to discriminate against and fire LGBTQ people on religious grounds. By far, however, the Trump administration has been the worst for transgender rights.

Transgender people already face rampant discrimination at every turn, and the previously mentioned laws just add to that. Now people will have legal backing for their existing discriminatory practices. The administration has even enforced discrimination in the military.

The administration has also pushed to define gender in discrimination policies as based entirely on genitalia, appointed a Secretary of Education who refuses to protect transgender students and appointed a Supreme Court justice who previously rejected an incarcerated transgender woman’s request for medical care.

All in all, the Trump administration has done absolutely nothing of substance to help the LGBTQ community. At every turn, Trump has worked his hardest to make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

After everything he has done to promote discrimination, it is downright insulting that he is selling a pride shirt. In one breath, he claims to best for the LGBTQ community, and in the other, he takes away its rights. He is trying to profit off of the very pain he is causing.

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