Dr Jill Biden kicks off tenure as first lady with visit to LGBT+ health centre and AIDS clinic

First lady of the United States Jill Biden

First lady Dr Jill Biden is visiting an LGBT+ health centre and HIV/AIDS clinic on her third day in White House.

On Friday afternoon (22 January), Biden will pay a visit to Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, “to highlight and promote support services for cancer patients and caregivers, and hear about the impact of COVID on access to health care, including cancer screenings and prevention efforts”.

The mission of the health centre, which is beloved by the LGBT+ community in DC, is “to offer affirming community-based health and wellness services to all with a special expertise in LGBTQ and HIV care”.

The Whitman-Walker Health website states: “We empower all persons to live healthy, love openly, and achieve equality and inclusion.”

Founded in 1978, the centre was one of the first organisations to respond the the AIDS epidemic in Washington, DC.

LGBT+ activist Charlotte Clymer wrote on Twitter: “Today, in the afternoon, First Lady Dr Jill Biden is visiting DC’s beloved Whitman-Walker Health, which specialises in LGBT+ health care.

“It hasn’t even been 72 hours since the inauguration. The level of care and empathy for LGBT+ people under this White House is immediate.”

Democrat Danica Roem, who was the first trans person elected to a US state legislature in 2017, wrote: “The Whitman-Walker Elizabeth Taylor center on 14th Street is absolutely wonderful.

“I went there for the TransLaw Clinic in 2015 when I needed legal help for for my name change, new passport, etc. TransLaw paid for everything. It was the only part of my transition that was free.

Praises for Whitman-Walker aside, I have to send just as much love to Dr Jill Biden, one of our fabulous Northern Virginia Community College professors and a true champion for making the United States a more inclusive country. I just adore her.” 

After four years of Donald Trump’s anti-LGBT+ reign, some queer folk found it hard to process their feelings.

“Pinch me,” wrote one. “I keep expecting to wake up.”

Another shared: “My heart. I just… it’s like I don’t understand how to process simple gratitude or joy any more. Everything feels so overwhelming.”

A third person responded to the news: “As it should be, considering for the past 4 years the LGBT+ community has been failed at every level.

“‘Start as you mean to go on’ is the phrase President Biden and Dr Flotus seem to be living by.”

Biden is the not the only first lady to have visited Whitman-Walker Health. Barbara Bush toured the clinic in 1989, and famously hugged a gay man and held a baby who were both dying from AIDS.