On Saturday, in honor of Pride Month, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed LGBTQ Americans to the White House for a picnic and concert.
“No one should have to fear for their safety in this country,” he said, recognizing survivors of the Pulse nightclub and Club Q shootings who were present at the event.
While acknowledging the discrimination and violence the LGBTQ community experiences, the president praised the “extraordinary” courage of LGBTQ Americans.
He acknowledged the attendees who had survived the shootings at Club Q and Pulse nightclub, saying, “No one should have to fear for their safety in this country.”
Biden reassured the crowd, who at one point chanted “four more years,” that LGBTQ rights were a “top priority” at home and abroad as he seeks reelection. He lauded his administration’s efforts to safeguard civil rights and tied stricter restrictions on gun violence to safeguarding the LGBTQ community.
Be that as it may, Biden conceded, “For all the progress we’ve made, we know challenges still remain.”
“When a person can be married in the morning but thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, something is still very wrong in America,” the president said.
The event on Saturday takes place amid a nationwide effort to enact LGBTQ rights-related legislation, including restrictions on gender-affirming care, led mainly by GOP state leaders.
According to American Civil Liberties Union data, at least 417 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the United States in the rough first quarter of 2023. This is a new record; twice as many were introduced last year.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the number of such bills signed into law this year is also more than double last year, the highest number ever recorded. Pronoun refusal laws, laws prohibiting forced student expulsion, anti-drug bans, and laws limiting classroom instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation are among them.
Recently, the president reported that he would select a federal coordinator to address the increase in book bans ordered across various states, efforts that the administration said “disproportionately target” the LGBTQ community.
The administration is also expected to announce new initiatives to protect LGBTQ youth in foster care and combat youth homelessness in the LGBTQ community, as well as a new partnership led by the Department of Homeland Security with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to provide “dedicated safety training and resources.”
At the occasion Saturday, Biden talked about defying the HIV scourge, finishing limits put on gay and sexually open Americans giving blood, and battling transformation treatment, which he tended to through a chief request during last year’s Pride Month festivities.
Additionally, Biden pleaded with Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that people would not be subjected to discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.