May 31, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Obama issues Pride proclamation for 2011

Barack Obama (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama commemorated June as the month of Pride on Tuesday by issuing a two-page presidential proclamation celebrating the event and recounting his achievements for the LGBT community.

“Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Obama wrote.

Among the accomplishments that Obama cited is passing legislation allowing for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the signing of hate crimes protection legislation and steps taken to eliminate of discrimination against LGBT people in federal housing programs.

“Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” Obama wrote. “With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our armed forces for the first time in our nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.”

Obama also noted that June marks the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS crisis, an epidemic that has taken the lives of millions of gay and bisexual men. The president recalled that last year, he announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, which focuses on using evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections and to improve care for people living with the disease.

“This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic,” Obama said.

Obama has issued Pride proclamations for each of the three years in which he’s served in the White House. Former President George W. Bush issued no such proclamation.

The complete proclamation follows:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2011

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2011

- – - – - – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.

My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.

At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth. My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March. Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording “It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.

This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.

Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

9 Comments
  • To me, President Obama is a most extraordinary man, who with quiet dignity and patient perserverance has accomplished things in health care and social reform that no president before has dared to or managed to succeed at. I don’t think many people fully comprehend the magnitude of President Obama’s achievement. To be able to get the DADT repeal message through to the point where 70% of the electorate and 70% of the surveyed armed forces supported it, and then to take it to the people via Congress and the Senate, and have it pass, and then to be willingly adopted by military chiefs? Unbelievable. I still can’t get my head round this extraordinay outcome. Moreover, this is going to beh lasting change, because it has been subjected to the highest scrutiny, and everyone wo wanted to, has had the opportunity to object. The President has not rammed change down the throats of the electorate with a decree or party politial might, rather he has appealed to the common sense and humanity of the American people.

    My heartfelt thanks to you Mr President!

  • Now,…..does anyone believe that any GOP candidate would EVER do such a thing?

    They are the very ones defending the “pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation” – i.e.) DOMA

    Thank you President Obama!

  • May God BLESS Obama!!!

  • Samantha Lynn Stanton

    Speechless….

  • Thank you President Obama of the USA……I am very happy to see that you are helping the LGBT community, I also want to ask if you can help us in more ways by passing a civil union bill for all states to allow LGBT in every state to live more freely…..

  • HIV and AIDS does NOT discriminate against gender, or sexual orientation. It is very frustrating to see in this article only reference HIV/AIDS in bisexual and gay men.

    Thumbs up to Obama, two thumbs down to Chris Johnson.

  • Obama, this is all great. Now legalize marriage nationally. At least talk about it. If you want equality for all marriage equality would be your best start. Love what you are doing, but this seems like you are buying time and saving face. Get to it and legalize same-sex marriage already! Btw, just like millions of gays I voted for you, don’t let us/me down.

  • This Gay-VET says a Big ‘THANK YOU ‘

  • Mariana Santamaria

    Amazing as always, but I would have loved to read about DOMA!

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