UPDATED: S.F. Pride ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Trump and LGBT Rights

Hey, thanks for not expelling us from the country like Muslims!, the venerable LGBT rights organization suggests.

At Pride 2015 (Peter Lawrence Kane)

UPDATE: George Ridgely, executive director of SF Pride, responded to this story. We print his statement in full here [emphasis ours]:

The commentary included in the San Francisco Pride Facebook post sharing the NY Times article regarding Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s alleged involvement in thwarting LGBT Rights Rollback does not reflect the organization’s views and the sentiment included in the post was not properly vetted before publication. We apologize for the shortsightedness of the remarks, do not find reason to be cautiously optimistic or grateful, and recognize the importance of vigilance on behalf of everyone in our communities.

While the President has not signed off on an official anti-LGBT order, his previous actions affect the most marginalized in our communities. The President’s orders and position on immigration are unjust and inhumane. The lived experiences of LGBTQ Muslims and undocumented LGBTQ people include harsh realities and the President’s blunt discriminatory orders will only make it worse for some of us and at times, may even result in deaths. Many of us face persecution for identifying as LGBTQ from countries like Iran, and so revoking or cancelling green cards and Visas from individuals who have been approved on the condition of asylum will face possible violent acts if deported from the United States. Undocumented LGBTQ individuals also experience harsh conditions when faced with detainment and deportation. The President’s orders incite racism and homophobia, making it more difficult for those of us adversely affected by his orders. 

Our theme for 2017, chosen before the November election, is “A Celebration of Diversity,” and stands in stark contrast to the division and exclusion propagated by the President. San Francisco Pride is the largest LGBTQ event in the country, with over 1 million attendees annually. We recognize and embrace the strength and beauty that is derived from our diversity, and will not stand down or step back when it comes to defending our freedoms.

Again, you can find this amended post on our FB feed as well: https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoPride/


Every year in the run-up to Pride, I have the same conversation with friends who complain that it’s too commercial and too full of young, drunk, suburbanites in rainbow tutus, so they’ve decided to skip it.

Objectively speaking, rainbow tutus are an atrocity and anyone wearing them should be catapulted into orbit; no argument from me there. But it always troubles me to see LGBT people turn their back on the organization that, however annoyingly cozy with Wells Fargo it might be, helped us get to where we are today. And if Pride is too straight, you’re doubly obligated to go, and gay it right back up.

My commitment has begun to waver. Late Friday, in response to a subpar New York Times tongue bath about how wonderful Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are for thwarting an anti-LGBT executive order, San Francisco Pride expressed its appreciation. 


That’s right, SF Pride has ceded leadership in the resistance to Nordstrom. This status update is offensive and tone-deaf, but above all else, it’s pathetic. It is pathetic to grovel before a cabal of autocrats, expressing gratitude that they haven’t come for you yet. This sentiment completely disregards the fact that there are LGBTQ Muslims, queer undocumented San Franciscans, and many other intersections of identity among the groups the Trump administration has gleefully pounced upon. It’s warped gullibility of the highest order: ass-kissing from people who used to be about ass-whooping.

Additionally, if you read the NYT article to the end, you’ll see what a journalistic turd the story really is. The lede, which relies on unnamed sources, reads like a joke: “The two most influential social liberals in President Trump’s inner circle — daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — helped kill a proposed executive order that would have scrapped Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections, according to people familiar with the issue.”

Not only does this presume that there are many “social liberals” in Trump’s inner circle — you know, among this Nazi and that that lying billionaire — isn’t it obvious that a team of insecure rivals knifing one another daily probably isn’t above feeding self-serving crumbs to the courtier press?

Nate Silver tweeted some appropriate skepticism.

I’m also not convinced that the Trump team, with a noted homophobe as vice president, isn’t planning something to undo Obama-era progress and satisfy the GOP’s restive evangelical wing. They’ve only been in office for two weeks! No less detestable a figure than the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who thinks about gay sex even more than I do, told the Times he’s “confident” of action. Did Pride even read what it was signal-boosting?

Whatever happens, congratulating plutocrats and other Masters of the Universe for not condoning anti-LGBT bias is gross. Doing so as Nazism creeps into everyday American life is just nauseating. In fairness, SF Pride’s status update offered tepid, qualified support. But you do not, under any circumstances, thank people for not taking your rights away. If you do, you surrender all claims to speak on behalf of the group you purport to represent. And who thinks to gauge the mood around queer San Francisco these days and then say, “C’mon, are his kids really so terrible?” 

It’s crucial that we maintain perspective here and not let the Trump administration’s bullshit indirectly tear progressivism to shreds via circular firing squads. (Say it with me: Donald Trump, and everything he represents, is the enemy. San Francisco Pride is not the enemy.) But this is a depressing fuck-up for an organization that many of the most vocal, impassioned, and hard-working queer activists already regard as an embarrassing dinosaur. San Francisco Pride, either get out in front or get out of the way. 

Mad as I am about it, I’m mostly just sad. My hope is that there are a few people left inside the Pride organization who can convene a meeting this week and patiently explain to whoever posted this that there was a time when you got the ever-loving shit beat out of you for being proudly and openly different, even in San Francisco — and that was considered progress in comparison to the last time Nazis took control and just flat-out exterminated everybody. “TL;DR: Please let’s not rejoice when another government full of Nazis hasn’t gotten there yet,” is what the last slide in this hypothetical Power Point presentation says.

Violence at Pride events is still common, and the Pulse massacre happened last June for a reason. I grimly acknowledged Trump’s condemnation of that shooting at the time (albeit it was mostly to glorify Islamophobia) but we’re way, way beyond the let’s-see-how-this-pans-out phase of the Trump regime. I hope S.F. Pride 2017 is safe and fun for everybody involved, with plenty of resistance banners and fists in the air. But I won’t know, because this year, I think I’m going to skip it, too.

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