The largest White House Pride Month event in history will be hosted by President Joe Biden on Thursday, in deliberate contrast to a wave of Republican legislation and other attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will entertain thousands of guests on the South Lawn of the White House for an evening celebration of LGBTQ+ families that will include performances by Baltimore DJ Queen HD and vocalist Betty Who.
According to domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden, Biden will also reveal new initiatives to assist schools and LGBTQ children in navigating book bans, community centers in fending off threats, and young transgender people in accessing better treatment.
“This year we’re seeing a disturbing surge in violent threats against LGBTQ community organizations,” Tanden told reporters on a conference call. “In too many parts of our country, LGBTQ Americans are being targeted for who they are, and that, simply put, is discrimination.”
Some jurisdictions have prohibited teachers of younger children from addressing gender or sexuality, and conservative lawmakers have suggested laws limiting drag shows. Republican-led states have passed a flurry of measures aimed at transgender youth.
The White House issued a warning in April against measures that would discriminate against LGBTQ children and youth care.
Over the course of his decades in public life, Biden’s personal views on homosexual rights have changed. His support for same-sex marriage as vice president in 2012 was a turning point, prompting former president Barack Obama to come out in favour of homosexual marriage a few days later.
He signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, which officially acknowledges same-sex unions, and he reversed a prohibition on transgender people serving in the military. He also issued a new directive to end conversion therapy.
According to Gallup polls, American support for same-sex marriage has increased by half from the late 1990s to more than 70%, and the proportion of persons who identify as LGBTQ has increased by half over the past ten years to over 7%.
According to Tanden, the White House will introduce a new coordinator on Thursday who will work with the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education to educate schools about book bans, how they affect LGBTQ children, and how they go against the law.
The Department of Justice will increase collaboration with state and local law enforcement to protect the community; the Department of Homeland Security will announce new training for community groups against active shooter and bomb threats; and the Department of Health & Human Services will issue a new advisory for mental health care professionals supporting transgender children.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the US, issued its first nationwide state of emergency proclamation on Tuesday in response to the emergence of anti-LGBTQ legislation in state legislatures around the US.
This legislative session, state legislatures passed more than 70 of the more than 70 anti-LGBTQ laws that HRC considers, breaking the previous record of over 500 proposed.
Under Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who recently entered the race for the 2024 presidential election and is challenging Biden, Florida has topped the nation in restrictions on the LGBTQ community.