Biden recognises Pride Month with an official proclamation after Trump refused during his time in office

<p>Drummers join revelers as they gather in front of the Stonewall Inn to listen to speakers on June 28, 2019 in New York City. </p> (Getty Images)

Drummers join revelers as they gather in front of the Stonewall Inn to listen to speakers on June 28, 2019 in New York City.

(Getty Images)
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President Joe Biden has issued an official proclamation recognising Pride Month after Donald Trump neglected to do so throughout his term.

“Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought – and continue to fight – for full equality,” Mr Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge Pride Month in 2019, but he didn’t do so through an official presidential proclamation, as Barack Obama had done every year during his time in office.

In June 2019, Mr Trump tweeted: “Let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

It was later issued as a White House press release. Mr Trump did however issue official presidential proclamations declaring June to be National Homeownership Month, Great Outdoors Month and Caribbean-American Heritage Month, in addition to others.

Noting recent progress for the LGBT+ community, Mr Biden added on Tuesday: “Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory.”

Mr Biden said that almost 14 per cent of his 1,500 appointees to various government agencies identify as LGBT+.

“I am particularly honoured by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate,” Mr Biden said.

But the president also noted the struggles many LGBT+ individuals still go through, such as lacking “fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations, and other spaces”.

He also acknowledged that the country is still seeing a “tragic spike in violence against transgender women of colour”.

People who identify as LGBT+, “especially youth who defy sex or gender norms,” experience bullying and discrimination at school and are at a higher risk of “self-harm and death by suicide”, Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden criticised some conservative states who have decided to “actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all”.

The president noted that he reversed the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, which was reinstated by Mr Trump.

Mr Biden noted that he has “signed an Executive Order affirming all qualified Americans will be able to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States – including patriotic transgender Americans who can once again proudly and openly serve their Nation in uniform”.

To those on the “front lines of the equality and democracy movements around the world,” Mr Biden said: “We see you, we support you, and we are inspired by your courage to accept nothing less than full equality.”

He said he would continue to pressure Congress to pass the Equality Act, in order to “ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country”.

Pride Month was established in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. At the time, it was called Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Mr Clinton said he was proud of his administration’s work to “end discrimination against gays and lesbians and ensure that they have the same rights guaranteed to their fellow Americans”.

Mr Clinton issued another proclamation in June 2000, before George W Bush declined to recognise June as Pride Month, leaving the tradition dormant until the election of Barack Obama.

June 1 is the start of Pride Month, but on that date in 2020, scenes of chaos were taking place outside the White House. Police and members of the National Guard forcefully cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square on the north side of the presidential compound using teargas.

Racial justice protesters were moved so that Mr Trump could walk to a nearby church and pose in front of the building with a Bible.

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