Metro Weekly

Biden Hosts Pride Month Picnic at White House

President Biden touted new pro-LGBTQ initiatives amid deluge of state-level legislation targeting LGBTQ people.

Photo: @WhiteHouse, Twitter

On Saturday, June 10, President Joe Biden welcomed more than 1,000 LGBTQ advocates and Pride revelers to the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate Pride Month, touting his administration’s support of initiatives to help the LGBTQ community.

The picnic event — which the White House described as the “largest” Pride event to be hosted on its grounds — had originally been scheduled for Thursday, June 8, but was postponed to Saturday because of poor air quality due to the wildfires in Canada.

Biden addressed the crowd with a message of support to the LGBTQ community, singling out transgender youth, who have been the subject of hundreds of devastating bills in various states.


“Today, I want to send a message to the entire community — especially to transgender children: You are loved. You are heard. You’re understood,” Biden said during his speech. “And you belong. We see who you are: made in the image of God, deserving of dignity, respect, and support.”

Biden touted his administration’s support of initiatives supporting the LGBTQ community, including a series of measures from various federal agencies announced last Thursday to promote safety measures to better protect LGBTQ people and establishments, and to counteract GOP-led measures targeting LGBTQ visibility and transgender rights. 

Among those initiatives is an effort led by the Department of Homeland Security to partner with LGBTQ community organizations to provide them with safety training and resources, including how to respond to incidents that typically target LGBTQ community resources and organizations, such as bomb threats, active shooters, or cybersecurity breaches.

Other initiatives include new regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services to protect LGBTQ children in foster care, a new initiative by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address LGBTQ youth homelessness, and the establishment of a coordinator position within the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, in which an appointee will focus on providing training to schools and monitoring whether book bans may create a hostile environment for certain groups of students, as reported by The Hill.

“Whether you’re organizing a Pride parade, running a small business, or just trying to focus at school, you should have — you shouldn’t have to deal with bomb threats, harassment, and violent attacks,” Biden said of the administration’s new initiatives.

He also touted past progress on LGBTQ rights, including reversing the ban on transgender service members in the U.S. Armed Forces; executive orders signed by Biden ensuring protections for housing, employment, health care, and education; efforts to combat conversion therapy; national efforts to address public health crises, including the HIV epidemic and the outbreak of monkeypox; the FDA’s relaxing of restrictions on gay and bisexual male blood donors; and the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would ensure same-sex marriages are recognized as valid, even in the case of a reversal of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing marriage equality.

Biden noted that more has to be done to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and urged Congress to pass the Equality Act. The sweeping civil rights law would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in various aspects of life. 

“For all the progress we’ve made, we know challenges still remain,” Biden said. “When a person can be married in the morning but thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, something is still very wrong in America. That’s why the Congress must pass and send me the Equality Act.”

Among those in attendance at the White House Pride event were Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Rachel Levine, one of the grand marshals of the 2023 Capital Pride Parade, held later that day; Delaware State Sen. Sarah McBride, the first out transgender senator elected to a state legislature; Montana State Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who was barred from the House chamber earlier this year after speaking out forcibly against an anti-transgender bill; a number of survivors of the Pulse and Club Q nightclub mass shootings; and musical guest Betty Who, who identifies as queer and bisexual, and who performed for the crowd.

Photo: @WhiteHouse, Twitter

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