Biden Hosts Pride Celebration

At White House, many say state legislation brings home urgency of securing rights
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 10, 2023 5:35 PM CDT
'You Are Loved,' Biden Tells Pride Gathering
President Biden applauds as he stands onstage during a Pride Month celebration on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Biden welcomed hundreds to the White House on Saturday for a Pride Month celebration aimed at showing LGBTQ+ people that his administration has their back at a time when advocates are warning of a spike in discriminatory legislation, particularly aimed at the transgender community, sweeping through statehouses. The event, which the administration described as the largest Pride event hosted at the White House, was initially scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed because of poor air quality from hazardous air flowing in from Canadian wildfires. But the haze that blanketed a huge swath of the East Coast lifted over the nation's capital, allowing the president and first lady Jill Biden to hold their South Lawn party, the AP reports.

"So today, I want to send a message to the entire community—especially to transgender children: You are loved. You are heard. You're understood. And you belong," Biden said. State lawmakers have introduced at least 525 bills and enacted 78 bills that whittle away at LGBTQ+ rights, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights. That tally includes a recent flurry of bills that affect transgender people, including legislation backed by Republican governors vying for the 2024 presidential nomination. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans gender-affirming medical care such as puberty blockers or hormone therapy for transgender youths.

Josh Helfgott of New York City said marking Pride Month at the White House felt like one of the most important moments of his life. But he said the legislation added another layer to the celebrations. "Pride this year is so important because we cannot be silent when faced with hate and bigotry," Helfgott said. "The other side is so loud, incredibly loud." Anjali Rimi of San Francisco attended with her mother, who recently immigrated from India. Rimi came to the US more than 20 years ago because, she said, she had been shunned as a transgender person. In the US, Rimi said she was pushed out of a job after she came out and was homeless for a time. She took asylum in Canada for about a decade before returning to the US. "This is a joyful moment," Rimis said, "but it's also one that reminds us that we have so much work to do.”

(More Pride Month stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.