Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the 50th Anniversary of Pride Month

Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the 50th Anniversary of Pride Month

Today, Jill and I are proud to stand with LGBTQ+ people and their allies in America and around the world to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride Month.

Fifty years ago, a group of courageous individuals took their first steps towards pride in the Christopher Street Day Liberation March. One year after Stonewall, the world’s first pride march was an act of rebellion, a protest for LGBTQ+ people to be treated as human beings, and a demand that America live up to its founding principles. 

We’ve made remarkable progress towards LGBTQ+ rights in the decades since, from Harvey Milk’s historic election to the first openly gay major presidential candidate. During the Obama-Biden Administration alone, we signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law; repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; addressed the epidemic of bullying in schools; established the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality as a foreign policy priority; and the White House beamed bright with the colors of the rainbow to mark the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision recognizing marriage equality.

It took hard work. It took acting up, organizing PFLAG moms, developing student activists, and a tireless persistence that HIV/AIDS be destigmatized and treated. Many paid a personal and a professional price just for being who they are — risking their jobs, livelihoods, and physical well-being. Many still do. 

Despite our progress, much work remains. 

As our nation grapples with the uncomfortable truths of systemic racism, a devastating pandemic that’s claimed more than 100,000 lives in the United States and left more than 40 million people filing for unemployment, and a President that’s waged an all-out assault on the rights of our most vulnerable, including LGBTQ+ people, we are reminded of why those first brave souls took to the streets to march 50 years ago.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence have systematically used the power of the White House as a literal bully pulpit to undermine LGBTQ+ rights. They have given safe harbor to white supremacists and other forms of hate. Predictably, we’ve experienced a rise in hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people. They rescinded the ability of transgender individuals to openly serve their country in the military, have denied LGBTQ+ people access to critical health care, and are failing to address the epidemic of violence against transgender people. The Trump-Pence Administration has abdicated America’s global leadership on human rights and walked away from our values, repeatedly failing to speak out against the abuses of authoritarian regimes.

This is wrong. We must send a clear message that hatred and bigotry have no place in America or on the world stage. As President, I will take swift action to reverse these odious policies and advance our progress toward ending discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. And I will start by signing into law the Equality Act.

There are dark and challenging realities ahead that we cannot ignore. Yet, I remain optimistic because I believe in who we are as a nation. I believe in the story of this country and the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride has come to be recognized as a global movement of love, self-expression, and community — resilient in the face of oppression and fear and hopeful for a better future. This month, let us recommit to those principles of Pride and remain steadfast in the fight for justice and equality. Let us celebrate and honor the legacies of Aimee Stephens, Larry Kramer, and Lorena Borjas. Together, we will write a new chapter in America’s march toward justice and win the battle ahead of us this November.

Happy Pride.

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