World AIDS Day, which takes place on Friday, was founded to raise awareness and remember those who lost their lives to the disease. But President Donald Trump’s statement on Thursday commemorating the day managed not to acknowledge one of the chief victims of the plague—the LGBTQ community—at all.
“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 the statement, which went on to recite reassuring numbers about how rates of new HIV infections have declined both in the U.S. and in 10 African countries hit hard by the epidemic.
But the only sub-demographic the president mentions at all are “adolescent girls and young women.”
As BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner pointed out on Twitter, that’s a stark diversion from the World AIDS Day proclamation President Obama issued during his final term in office, when he mentioned “gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs” as groups disproportionately at risk for contradicting the virus.
Although the number of new HIV diagnoses is indeed down in the U.S., gay and bisexual men still account for more than 80% of new cases, with black men most affected.
It might seem like an oversight by the Trump administration, but the erasure of LGBTQ communities and other marginalized groups is telling given the administration’s record on defending their rights. It’s also at least the second time the Trump administration has failed to honor LGBTQ people in a relevant proclamation; Trump let all of June go by without commemorating this year’s Pride Month.