On the last day of May, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation Wednesday from the White House declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month. It comes amid a wave of conservative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
“During Pride Month, we honor a movement that has grown stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive with every passing year,” the proclamation read. “Pride is a celebration of generations of LGBTQI+ people who have fought bravely to live openly and authentically. And it is a reminder that we still have generational work to do to ensure that everyone enjoys the full promise of equity, dignity, protection, and freedom.”
Biden referenced the laws Republican-led legislatures have introduced in states nationwide, calling it an “inflection point.”
“In 2023 alone, State and local legislatures have already introduced over 600 hateful laws targeting the LGBTQI+ community. Books about LGBTQI+ people are being banned from libraries. Transgender youth in over a dozen States have had their medically necessary health care banned. Homophobic and transphobic vitriol spewed online has spilled over into real life, as armed hate groups intimidate people at Pride marches and drag performances and threaten doctors’ offices and children’s hospitals that offer care to the LGBTQI+ community.”
At least 20 states have restricted access to gender-affirming care for minors and, in some states, adults as well. In Florida, the Republican governor and declared 2024 presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, has initiated an all-out war on LGBTQ+ people with bans on topics in schools, books in libraries, and access to care for young people suffering from gender dysphoria.
Five states alone advanced some form of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation within the last week, accordingto the Human Rights Campaign.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained to The Advocate why the LGBTQ+ community is front of mind for Biden.
“During Pride Month, we celebrate the strength, resilience, and bravery of the LGBTQI+ community and reaffirm our commitment to fighting for equality and freedom for all people,” Jean-Pierre said. “This year alone, more than 600 anti-LGBTQI+ bills have been filed in statehouses across the country and a significant portion of these bills target transgender youth.”
She continued, “As President Biden says, these young people are some of the bravest people he knows, but no one should have to be brave just to be themselves. The Biden-Harris Administration is going to continue to speak out and stand up against these attacks and we are going to remain focused on advancing equality for LGBTQI+ people across the country.”
Biden also acknowledged the lives lost to anti-LGBTQ+ violence, saying, “Our hearts are heavy with grief.”
The proclamation explains that the LGBTQ+ community is one of resilience.
“LGBTQI+ Americans are defiantly and unapologetically proud,” the President noted.
Youth leaders are organizing walkouts at high schools and colleges nationwide to protest discriminatory laws. However, he wrote that defending their fundamental rights in state capitols requires incredible courage from LGBTQI+ young people and their parents.
“They are not alone: My entire Administration stands proudly with the LGBTQI+ community in the enduring struggle for freedom, justice, and equality,” Biden wrote.
e highlighted his executive order charging the entire federal government with protecting queer and trans people from discrimination in healthcare, housing, education, banking, and the criminal justice system.
“Last December, surrounded by dozens of couples who have fought for marriage equality in the courts for decades, I had the great honor of signing into law the landmark Respect for Marriage Act,” Biden mentioned.
“This bipartisan law protects the rights of same-sex and interracial couples – like caring for one’s sick partner and receiving spousal benefits. Deciding who to marry is one of life’s most profound decisions, so we etched a simple truth into law: Love is love.”
According to Biden, “The Department of Justice is combating laws that target transgender children, and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have proposed new rules to protect LGBTQI+ Americans from discrimination in health care, at school, and in sports.”
Still, states continue to pass sports bills that exclude transgender athletes from team sports. In April, Congressional Republicans passed a measure through the House of Representatives banning transgender athletes from sports teams that align with the gender they identify. That bill went nowhere because Democrats control the Senate.
“We must support LGBTQI+ activists around the globe who are standing up for basic human rights and LGBTQI+ survivors of gender-based violence,” Biden said.
Toward the end of the proclamation, Biden issued a call to action.
“This month and every month, let us celebrate the pride that powers the movement for LGBTQI+ rights and commit to doing our part to help realize the promise of America for all Americans,” the president said.