Biden's Pride Proclamation Marks White House's First In Four Years

After four years of Pride Month being shunned by the White House, President Joe Biden has issued his first presidential proclamation formally recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

During his address on June 1st, President Biden discussed the history of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement, and honored the queer people who are now shaping the country’s political landscape.

“This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice,” he said. 

Biden's proclamation marks the first on Pride from the White House since 2015. President Trump did not address Pride Month at all during his term. In fact, instead of commemorating Pride during his final year in office, Trump marked June 1st 2020 by ordering Black Lives Matter protestors to be tear-gassed out of Lafayette Square so he could walk over to St. John's Church and hold a Bible upside down.

Although the practice of addressing Pride Month was completely ignored by the previous administration, President Biden said he is committed to defending the rights of all LGBTQ+ individuals, and is proud to have a number of prominent LGBTQ+ individuals in his cabinet.

“Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+,” Biden said, “and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.”

The President also addressed the rising number of violent attacks on trans people, especially trans women of color.

Biden additionally celebrated the "historic progress towards LGBTQ+ equality" that has been made since he took office and signed a litany of Executive Orders aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ individuals' rights.

Since January 2021, the Department of Justice has filed a statement clarifying that it is the DOJ’s position that transgender prisoners should be assigned to housing that aligns with their gender identity, and that transgender prisoners should receive medically-necessary gender affirming care.

Biden also signed an Executive Order on his first day in office that directed all federal agencies to implement fully all federal laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

And, under Biden, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has also undertaken an agency-wide review of its policies and practices to remove barriers that transgender veterans and their families face. 

Read President Biden’s full Pride proclamation here:

"The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement -- a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation's promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.  Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought -- and continue to fight -- for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.

The LGBTQ+ community in America has achieved remarkable progress since Stonewall. Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act broadened the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity. Members of the LGBTQ+ community now serve in nearly every level of public office -- in city halls and State capitals, Governors' mansions and the halls of the Congress, and throughout my Administration. Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+, and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.

For all of our progress, there are many States in which LGBTQ+ individuals still lack protections for fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations, and other spaces. Our Nation continues to witness a tragic spike in violence against transgender women of color. LGBTQ+ individuals -- especially youth who defy sex or gender norms -- face bullying and harassment in educational settings and are at a disproportionate risk of self-harm and death by suicide. Some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation's values of inclusivity and freedom for all.

Our Nation also continues to face tragic levels of violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color. And we are still haunted by tragedies such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Ending violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community demands our continued focus and diligence. As President, I am committed to defending the rights of all LGBTQ+ individuals. 

My Administration is taking historic actions to finally deliver full equality for LGBTQ+ families. On my first day in office, I signed an Executive Order charging Federal agencies to fully enforce all Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. As a result, the Federal Government has taken steps to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, health care, housing, lending, and education.  I also signed an Executive Order affirming all qualified Americans will be able to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States -- including patriotic transgender Americans who can once again proudly and openly serve their Nation in uniform -- and a National Security Memorandum that commits to supporting LGBTQ+ Federal employees serving overseas. My Administration is also working to promote and protect LGBTQ+ human rights abroad. LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, which is why my Administration has reaffirmed America's commitment to supporting those on the front lines of the equality and democracy movements around the world, often at great risk. We see you, we support you, and we are inspired by your courage to accept nothing less than full equality.

While I am proud of the progress my Administration has made in advancing protections for the LGBTQ+ community, I will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law. That is why I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Equality Act, which will ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country. And that is why we must recognize emerging challenges, like the fact that many LGBTQ+ seniors, who faced discrimination and oppression throughout their lives, are isolated and need support and elder care. 

During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America. This Pride Month, we affirm our obligation to uphold the dignity of all people, and dedicate ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high."

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, she started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. She now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their two dogs Cosmo and Juno. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.



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