President Biden has issued a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, a reversal from the previous administration. The President delivered the proclamation on Tuesday, along with a facts sheet which tracked his administration’s accomplishments with regards to promoting and protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
“The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all,” the proclamation reads. “Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality.”
The President goes on to speak of the progress the country has made with regards to LGBTQ+ rights, but urges the Senate to pass the Equality Act as further protections are needed. He also speaks of the progress his own administration has made, citing that nearly 14% of his administrative appointees identify as LGBTQ+, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg — the first openly LGBTQ+ individual to serve in the Cabinet — and Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.
The proclamation signals a departure from the previous administration, which had rolled back rights for transgender individuals in healthcare, social services, and the military. The previous president did not acknowledge last year’s Pride, and prohibited U.S. embassies around the world from displaying the rainbow flag.
Biden’s own position on LGBTQ+ rights has changed over the years. Although he had voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, he was a supporter of same-sex marriage during the Obama years. As President he has signed executive orders protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual identity, reversing the policies of his immediate predecessor.
The President has frequently voiced support for the LGBTQ+ community while in office and on the campaign trail. Earlier this year, he issued a proclamation in recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility, becoming the first president to do so.