Metro Weekly

White House Issues LGBTQI+ Pride Month Proclamation

President, other Democratic leaders pledge to fight for greater equality for LGBTQI+ Americans.

White House lit up in Pride Lights on June 26, 2015 – Photo: GPA Photo Archive, White House photographer Pete Souza

President Joseph Biden issued a proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQI+ Pride Month for the second year in a row, continuing a departure from his predecessor Donald Trump, who didn’t issue a proclamation acknowledging Pride Month celebrations until his third year in office.

“During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Pride Month, we reflect on the progress we have made as a Nation in the fight for justice, inclusion, and equality while reaffirming our commitment to do more to support LGBTQI+ rights at home and abroad,” Biden said in the proclamation.

“I often say that America can be defined by one word:  possibilities. This month, we celebrate generations of LGBTQI+ people who have fought to make the possibilities of our Nation real for every American.”

Noting the ongoing assault against LGBTQI+ Americans in state legislatures as well as anti-LGBTQI+ violence and discrimination that persists, and the high rate of suicidal ideation among LGBTQI+ youth, Biden said the month should be a time to “remind the LGBTQI+ community that they are loved and cherished.”

Echoing past statements he’s made in support of the community — most notably in his State of the Union speech earlier this year and his address to Congress last year — Biden vowed to “have the back” of LGBTQI+ Americans, especially transgender youth, telling them they are “deserving of dignity, respect, and support.”

He condemned the anti-LGBTQI+ laws being passed by Republican-led legislatures and vowed to ensure LGBTQI+ people live free from violence.

“Since my first day in office, I have taken historic action to ensure that everyone — no matter who they are or whom they love — has an equal place in our democracy,” Biden said, touting his record on LGBTQI+ issues. 

Since taking office, Biden has signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to interpret and enforce federal laws in a way that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. He repealed the Trump administration’s previous policy barring transgender individuals from serving openly in the U.S. military, and has taken steps to prevent anti-LGBTQI+ discrimination in housing, education, and health care.

Biden has also named a number of LGBTQI+ people, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, to positions within his administration — with LGBTQI+ making up 14% of all his appointees. And his administration has expanded access to inclusive passports, offering a third, gender-neutral option for travelers who identify outside of the gender binary.

Biden also called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, a comprehensive law that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in various aspects of everyday life. He also called for better protections for LGBTQI+ seniors and fighting against disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment in the LGBTQI+ community, especially among segments of the transgender community and communities of color.

“This month, we honor the resilience of LGBTQI+ people, who are fighting to live authentically and freely. We reaffirm our belief that LGBTQI+ rights are human rights. And we recommit to delivering protections, safety, and equality to LGBTQI+ families so that everyone can realize the full promise of America,” Biden concluded.

In addition to Biden, several other Democratic leader issued statements recognizing Pride Month, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the head of the Democratic National Committee.

“For more than half a century, Pride Month has been a powerful expression of resilience, love and solidarity. Rooted in the courage of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and all those who rose up against police violence at the Stonewall Inn, Pride is an opportunity for Americans to celebrate the beauty of our nation’s LGBTQ community, speak out against hateful bigotry and advance the fight for justice and equality,” Pelosi said in a statement. 

“As right-wing forces attempt to silence LGBTQ voices and threaten to wind back hard-won progress, the struggle against hate remains as urgent as ever.  Across the country, extremist Republicans are waging an all-out assault on the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ community — from targeting trans children in Texas to bullying LGBTQ students in Florida. And on our nation’s highest court, a Republican-appointed majority is poised to severely weaken the right to privacy, which poses a direct threat to marriage equality,” she continued.

“Democrats have long been proud to march and fight alongside tireless LGBTQ advocates, whether combating the HIV/AIDS crisis, repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ or enacting landmark hate crime legislation. … And under the leadership of President Biden, the Administration is reaffirming the fundamental dignity of every person — including by ending the shameful ban on transgender Servicemembers, confronting anti-LGBTQ human rights violations around the world and extending Title IX protections to LGBTQ students here at home….

“The promise of our Democracy will only be realized when every American can enjoy the freedom to reach their fulfillment, without fear of violence or persecution,” she concluded. “As we celebrate 53 years of Pride, let us renew our resolve to fight alongside our LGBTQ friends, neighbors and loved ones until we finally achieve full equality for all.”

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and DNC LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes issued a joint statement echoing Pelosi and Biden’s remarks and promising to push back on efforts to rescind or rollback LGBTQI+ rights.

“This month, we celebrate love, self-expression, and the freedom to be one’s authentic self. The LGBTQ+ movement is full of remarkable, everyday people who had the courage to assert their freedom,” the statement reads. “From the first brick at Stonewall to marriage equality, the DNC honors the tremendous progress made to expand LGBTQ+ rights and joins in solidarity as we continue to fight for complete equality….

“Inclusion can and must be the law of the land. That’s why, as Democrats, we firmly support the Equality Act. It is long past time to codify equal protection on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation into law. This Pride month, we recommit to building a country where all Americans can be their true selves — no matter who they love or how they identify.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also acknowledged the celebration of Pride Month and the investments made on behalf of the LGBTQI+ community in the city’s annual budget. She also reaffirmed the District’s commitment to advocating for and meeting the needs of its LGBTQI+ residents, especially this from vulnerable or marginalized communities.

“We are focused, especially this year, on using Pride to bring people back together and to uplift and advance our D.C. values,” she said in a statement. “We are proud that, for years, DC has led the nation in supporting LGBTQ+ rights, and together we will keep it that way.”

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