Donald Trump failed to acknowledge the LGBTQ community during a speech on World AIDS Day.
To mark the day of HIV/AIDS awareness, which was founded in 1988 and takes place every year on 1 December, the President of the United States released a signed statement that was published online.
“Today, on World AIDS Day, we honour 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,” he said.
Unlike previous proclamations on World AIDS Day, Trump made no acknowledgement of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender communities, who have historically been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.
He also failed to mention black and Latino individuals, who are at higher risk of acquiring the disease.
“Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, more than 76 million people around the world have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS,” he continued.
“As of 2014, 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. On this day, we pray for all those living with HIV, and those who have lost loved ones to AIDS.”
Trump’s statement is a far cry from previous president Barack Obama’s final World AIDS Day address in 2016, where he urged his successor to continue to raise awareness and fight towards an AIDS-free generation.
“In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV,” he said.
“Gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk.
“A future where no individual has to suffer from HIV/AIDS is within our reach, and today, we recommit to ensuring the next generation has the tools they need to continue fighting this disease.”
The Human Rights Campaign took to Twitter to point out what was missing from Trump’s proclamation.
.@RealDonaldTrump's #WorldAIDSDay proclamation is missing a few things:
-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🤔
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) November 30, 2017
Meanwhile, Scott Schoettes, HIV/AIDS Project Director for LGBT+ advocacy group Lambda Legal, released a statement accusing Trump’s administration of not taking HIV/AIDS seriously.
“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 colour, for gay and bisexual men of colour, particularly young men of colour, or for transgender women,” they said.
“It is estimated that at current rates, one in two Black gay and bisexual men in this country will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. That is an appalling statistic that we cannot paper over with platitudes.
“Simply put, HIV affects people in some communities more than others, and our federal government cannot turn a blind eye to that.”
Trump’s disappointing approach to the topic won’t be a surprise to many, as back in June six members of his HIV/AIDS advisory council resigned on claims the president “simply does not care” about fighting the health epidemic.