Joe Biden blasts hateful anti-trans laws in ‘biggest ever’ White House Pride Month celebration
President Joe Biden gave a rousing speech in undeniable support of the LGBTQ+ community during what he called the White House’s biggest Pride Month celebration in history.
The 80-year-old Democratic president spoke to almost 1,000 guests on Saturday (10 June), where he commended the courage of queer Americans amid rising anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and oppressive laws attacking the community across the US.
“We need to push back against the hundreds of callous and cynical bills and laws introduced in states, targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalising doctors and nurses,” he told the crowd.
In association with the Gill Foundation, the event aimed to bring “hundreds of families together” to celebrate Pride Month at the White House, while also addressing the injustices faced across America.
Among the crowd were trans members of the administration, assistant secretary of health and human services, Rachel Levine, as well as undersecretary of defence, Shawn Skelly, who stood alongside Biden as he gave his speech.
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“But for all the progress we’ve made, we know a real change and real challenges still remain,” he said. “When a person can be married in the morning and thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, something is still very wrong in America.
“That’s why Congress must pass and send me the Equality Act to codify protections for the LGBT community.”
America is an increasingly dangerous place for LGBTQ+ people
Despite president Biden’s continued support for LGBTQ+ Americans, the US has become an incredibly hostile place for queer citizens, especially among the trans and non-binary community.
A mixture of legislative attacks and general fear-mongering has created an environment of uncertainty, despite polls showing that most US citizens support LGBTQ+ people.
The vitriol has become so severe that, for the first time in its history, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the US earlier in June.
In a statement, the HRC cited the “unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults” as one of the primary reasons for the declaration.
“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived, they are real, tangible and dangerous,” HRC president Kelley Robinson said.
Nonprofit advocacy group the ACLU is currently tracking at least 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being processed across state legislatures at the time of reporting.
Additionally, according to a community tracker organised by independent journalist Erin Reed, there are believed to be 531 total anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the US today.
The HRC also commented on Biden’s Pride celebration, saying: “We appreciate the president exercising his authority to bolster and strengthen efforts to secure the safety, well-being and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people.
“America promises freedom and that goes for everyone. LGBTQ+ families and young transgender people deserve the same basic protections as everyone else – to live their lives with safety, privacy, and dignity.”
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