Trans woman banned from White House events over topless Pride celebration defends herself

A split image of Rose Montaya in a response clip, next to president Joe Biden at the White House Pride month event.

A transgender model has been barred from future White House events after posing topless, with her nipples covered, on the South Lawn.

Rose Montoya, a model, activist and influencer, was attending the White House Pride celebration on Saturday (10 June) when she posed topless for a video, with her hands covering her nipples, which she later posted on Instagram.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed on Tuesday (13 June) that Montoya and two others who posed similarly would not be invited to future events as a result.

“The behaviour was simply unacceptable,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’ve been very clear about that. It was unfair to the hundreds of attendees who were there to celebrate their families.”

She echoed a White House statement provided on the same day, which said the exposure was “disrespectful” and did not reflect the administration’s values.

“This was not a normal thing that has happened under this administration,” Jean-Pierre continued. “We’ve been very clear about how we saw this particular behaviour.”

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Rose Montoya defends topless pose on White House lawn

Rose Montoya defended her actions after the wave of condemnation for her behaviour was mixed with transphobic hate speech and vehement misgendering.

She explained that she posed topless on the South Lawn to celebrate trans joy with two transmasculine friends.

“My transmasculine friends were showing off their top surgery scars and living in joy,” she said. “And because it is perfectly within the law in Washington DC, I decided to join them and cover my nipples just to play it safe because I wanted to be fully free in myself.

“I had zero intention of trying to be vulgar or profane in any way, I was simply living in joy, living my truth and existing in my body.”

Laws on indecent exposure in the Code of the District of Columbia state that it is unlawful for a person to “make an obscene or indecent exposure” of genitalia or anus, or to engage in “sexual acts”, which has several definitions within the legislation’s clauses.

Defenders of Rose Montoya noted that right-wing activists were fixated on a transgender woman expressing joy while seemingly ignoring former president Donald Trump’s indictment, which happened on the same day.

Media Matters journalist Ari Drennen noted that Daily Wire pundits Ben Shapiro and Michael Knowles were discussing the controversy rather than talking about Trump’s court appearance.

Activist Chelsea Hart also jumped to Montoya’s defence, saying: “The funniest part is that they’re inadvertently affirming her womanhood by sexualising her breasts.”

The Biden administration hosted the largest Pride Month celebration in the White House’s history on Saturday.

During the event, the president said that he remained committed to protecting queer Americans in the face of rising adversity from Republican lawmakers.

Hundreds of LGBTQ+ influencers, families, allies and figureheads – including Montoya – were invited to the celebration held on the South Lawn.