June 1, 2020 at 7:22 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Biden recognizes 50th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride Month
D.C. primary, gay news, Washington Blade
Joseph Biden has recognized the 50th anniversary of Pride Month. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Joseph Biden issued a statement on Monday recognizing June as Pride Month, saying “much work remains” to advance LGBTQ people despite the progress made after the first Pride 50 years ago in memorial of the Stonewall riots.

“Despite our progress, much work remains,” Biden wrote. “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.”

Meanwhile, President Trump as of this posting has issued no statement or proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month. Last year, Trump in a tweet became the first Republican U.S. president to recognize Pride, but said nothing in his first two years in office.

Biden issues the Pride statement as the nation is gripped in horror over police brutality that killed George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis. Protests followed in the days afterwards, but also violent riots damaging to U.S. monuments and privatE property throughout the country.

“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,” Biden wrote. “This month, let us recommit to those principles of Pride and remain steadfast in the fight for justice and equality.”

Biden also invoked the memories of LGBTQ activists who have died in recent weeks: Larry Kramer, a gay rights pioneer and AIDS activist who founded ACT Up; Aimee Stephens, a transgender plaintiff in lawsuit before the Supreme Court that will decide whether federal civil rights law applies to LGBTQ people; and Lorena Borjas, a transgender immigrant activist.

Biden also cites the anti-LGBTQ policies of the Trump administration, such as the transgender military ban, as well as condemning Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for having “given safe harbor to white supremacists and other forms of hate.”

In contrast, Biden expresses commitment to LGBTQ legislation known as the Equality Act pending before Congress and says he’ll take “swift action to reverse” the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies.

The White House hasn’t responded to repeated requests from the Washington Blade to comment why Trump hasn’t issued any statement recognizing Pride Month.

Last week, the White House issued five proclamations from Trump designating June as Great Outdoors Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month and National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, but nothing on Pride Month.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, slammed Trump in a statement for ignoring Pride Month.

“This June, the Trump-Pence administration has yet again failed to recognize Pride Month to honor the history of the LGBTQ community and acknowledge the ongoing movement toward full equality,” David said. “In a global pandemic and national crisis highlighting ongoing racial violence and police brutality across the country — violence that particularly targets Black lives — Trump and his administration have stoked division, hate, and anger with continued attacks on LGBTQ people, people of color, immigrants, and other vulnerable communities.”

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

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