National Coming Out Day
President Joe Biden commemorated National Coming Out Day by condemning the array of anti-LGBTQ legislation circulating through state governments while continuing to offer words of encouragement to the nation’s LGBTQ citizens.
Biden reiterated previous supportive statements toward LGBTQ Americans in a statement Monday celebrating “the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride” on the 33rd celebration of National Coming Out Day. “Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are regardless of whether or not you’ve come out,” Biden said.
“To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming: know that you are loved for who you are, you admired for your courage and you will have a community – and a nation – to welcome you,” he added. “My administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for full measure of equality, dignity and respect you deserve.”
The president also made reference to multiple out LGBTQ officials currently working in his administration in the statement, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine. “I am proud to lead an administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government – and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community,” Biden’s statement read.
“My administration has been clear that we will continue to champion dignity, equality and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community,” he added.
Biden’s words echo previous statements made by himself and members of his administration meant to bring higher visibility to the LGBTQ community and the issues it faces, including remarks made during a June speech recognizing LGBTQ Pride month. “Above all, Pride month stands for love. Being able to love yourself, love who you love and love this country enough to make it more fair and more free and more just.”
“More Work To Do”
As he did in June, Biden took aim at the widespread collection of anti-LGBTQ, and specifically anti-trans, legislation that a majority of state legislatures have introduced over the last calendar year. Much of those policies focus on undercutting gender-affirming medical care and participation in sports for trans individuals- particularly trans youth.
Those attitudes have trickled into local political structures as well, with multiple school districts across the nation instituting bans on LGBTQ iconography on campus under the guise of policing political statements. Biden called for those bills and laws’ defeat while acknowledging that there is “more work to do.”
“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character,” Biden said. “We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”
Biden also once again called for the passage of the Equality Act as part of that call. “From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.”
The Equality Act would add protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for individuals facing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite multiple calls from The White House for the bill to pass, the Equality Act’s advancement has been stalled in the Senate for months after it passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
National Coming Out Day: Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons