LGBT people will never be invisible again (except on Trump's White House website)

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At Independence Hall on July 4, 2015, marchers re-created the pioneering gay rights march of a half-century earlier. Photo by Kevin Riordan

I could relate to President Trump's dismay at the difference between the size of the crowds he saw with his own eyes on inauguration day and the numbers he read in the next morning's papers.

It reminded me of the late 1970s, when friends and I jumped for the first time into the great LGBT river that flowed along Fifth Avenue during New York City's annual Gay Pride Parade.

We were exhilirated, and the day after, frustrated, to see our powerful flood of humanity reduced to a trickle (or a trifle) in the papers.

That is, if the mainstream media even bothered to cover the parade beyond “shocking” photos or footage of drag queens marching in fabulous high heels (bless them).

Later the media would pay excruciatingly little attention during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, as David France eloquently recounts in his new book, How to Survive a Plague (Knopf).

A disease whose first victims were gay men, intravenous drug addicts and dark-skinned immigrants from Haiti proved even easier to ignore at the White House, where great communicator Ronald Reagan waited four years before making his first public utterance about the worst public health crisis since polio.

All of which makes the Trump administration's apparent LGBT invisibility policy on the White House website (whitehouse.gov) so...familiar.

The LGBT issues page maintained by the Obama administration has, like those devoted to climate change and civil rights, disappeared.

And while it's at first fun to put “gay” in the search box – the only content it yields is a charmingly dated reference to the “gay friendliness” of vintage First Lady Grace Coolidge – the message our absence sends is anything but quaint.

It speaks volumes, and LGBT people have heard it all before: We remember being minimized, marginalized, invisible. We know what it feels like, and we know what it costs – as individuals, and as a community.

The power of the slogan  Silence=Death, which France conveys so well in his book, endures because it proved much too true for far too long.

So my empathy for the new president curdled when I heard about his administration's evident eagerness to show LGBT people that we don't belong, that we have no place, that we don't count.

But while a president can scrub us from a website or even unplug the LEDs that bathed the Obama White House in rainbow colors to celebrate marriage equality in 2015, the freedom we marched for and the freedom we won for ourselves and others is another matter altogether.

That sort of freedom can't simply be deleted. Because the people who cherish it will never be silent again.