Following his Memorial Day duties as Commander in Chief, as well as a speech he gave to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, President Biden took a moment at the start of the week for a happier exchange: his first official recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month while serving as President of the United States.
Jo Yurcaba of NBC News reported on Biden’s Presidential Proclamation on May 31 in recognition of Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.”
“During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically,” Biden wrote. “In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.”
Biden also acknowledged the work his administration was already doing to serve as an example to business leaders and the LGBTQ community — work that has already helped his administration to become the most pro-LGBTQ ever in U.S. history.
Among those historic firsts, according to Yurcaba: “Nearly 14% of his 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg [also] became the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender person confirmed by the Senate.”
During his first days in office, Biden also issued an executive order directing federal agencies to increase protections for LGBTQ individuals under all federal anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex, reversed the Trump administration ban on transgender people serving in the military and issued another executive order expanding protections for LGBTQ students against discrimination in schools.
But despite all those recent advances to LGBTQ rights over the past decades, Biden said much more work still needed to be done.
“For all of our progress, there are many States in which LGBTQ+ individuals still lack protections for fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations and other spaces,” he said.
He also acknowledged — for the first time ever in an official statement — the increasing number of state bills seeking to discriminate against trans student-athletes and attempting to ban trans minors’ access to transition-related health care, saying “some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all.”
Finally, Yurcaba reported that Biden also “called on Congress to pass the Equality Act — a bill that would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, education, health care, public accommodations, credit and many other areas of life,” but has been stalled in the Senate since March.