By Christopher Kane, Washington Blade courtesy of the NLGBTQ Media Association
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Saturday welcomed more than 1,000 guests to the largest Pride month celebration ever hosted at the White House.
“Happy Pride Month,” the president said from a stage on the South Lawn. “Happy Pride year,” he added, “happy Pride life.”
The Biden-Harris administration has more openly-LGBTQ people working at every level of government than ever before, Biden noted, and “we’re doing everything we can to advance equality for the LGBTQ community.”
“As commander-in-chief, I was proud to reverse the ban on transgender Americans serving in the United States military. I signed historic executive orders extending civil rights protections for housing, employment, health care, education and the justice system.”
“We’re combatting the dangerous and cruel practice of conversation therapy and launching a new national strategy to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, working with communities to treat and contain the mpox outbreak, and ending the disgraceful practice of banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood.”
Biden said the administration is making LGBTQ equality around the world a top priority, such as by reviewing “our engagement with Uganda following its anti-gay law, the most extreme in the world.”
“Last December, we felt such pride here on the South Lawn when I signed the historic Respect for Marriage Act, which protects the marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.”
Despite this progress, the president said, “real challenges still remain.” For instance, he said, “When a person can be married in the morning and thrown out of the 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.”
“Joining us today are survivors of Club Q and Pulse,” Biden said, shootings that highlight the importance of implementing the provisions of the bipartisan gun bill passed last year. He added that work must continue with banning assault weapons.
“With families across the country facing excruciating decisions to relocate to a different state to protect their child from dangerous anti LGBTQ laws, we have to act,” Biden said. “We have to act as a nation. We need to push back against the hundreds of callous and cynical bills and laws introduced in states targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors and nurses.”
“These bills and laws attack the most basic values we have as Americans, that’s not hyperbole,” said the president. “It’s a fact.”
“I recognize that for a lot of folks across the country, maybe it’s not you, your kid, your family member going through whatever a transgender child and their family is going through,” Biden said.
“But I think we can all agree,” he said, “if it were you, you’d want the space to figure it out with your family and doctor.”
“So today, I want to send a message to the entire community, especially to transgender children. You aren’t alone. You are heard. You are understood … your president, my entire administration has your back!”
“Two days ago, I announced a series of new initiatives we’re taking to protect the LGBTQ community,” Biden said. “First, ensuring your physical safety. Whether you’re organizing a Pride parade, running a small business or just trying to focus at school, you shouldn’t have to deal with bomb threats, harassment, and violent attacks.”
“That’s why the Department of Homeland Security with the support of the Department of Justice and Department Health and Human Services is launching a safety partnership that’s gonna provide critical training and support to the community — dedicated resources to better protect festivals, marches, community centers and businesses.”
Second, said the president. “We’re addressing how the growing threat that book bans violate civil rights law when they target LGBTQ students or students of color and create hostile classroom environments.”
“Third, we’re investing in the future of LGBTQ kids. Last year we launched a nationwide crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth who are feeling isolated and overwhelmed,” said Biden, who also noted initiatives focused on mental health and combatting homelessness among LGBTQ youth.
“You set the example for the nation and quite frankly for the world,” Biden said. “You know, we all move forward when we’re together with your joy, your pride, lighting the way.”
Story courtesy of the Washington Blade via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/.