Online Extra: Biden issues Pride Month statement, while Trump criticized for ignoring it
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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. celebrated Monday as the start of Pride Month, while President Donald Trump faced criticism for again failing to recognize the annual LGBT celebration.
In his June 1 statement, Biden said he and his wife, Jill, "are proud to stand with LGBTQ+ people and their allies in America and around the world" as they mark the 50th anniversary of official Pride celebrations this month. The first Pride parades were held 50 years ago to commemorate the riots that occurred at New York City's Stonewall Inn the night of June, 28, 1969 when queer and transgender patrons of the gay bar rose up against the police who had raided the establishment.
"One year after Stonewall, the world's first Pride march was an act of rebellion, a protest for LGBTQ+ people to be treated as human beings, and a demand that America live up to its founding principles," stated Biden. "We've made remarkable progress towards LGBTQ+ rights in the decades since, from Harvey Milk's historic election to the first openly gay major presidential candidate."
Since becoming president in 2017, Trump has not issued an official proclamation declaring June as Pride Month and has only marked the annual LGBT celebration once. Last June, in a series of tweets on Twitter, Trump asked people to "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."
He also announced "a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality" and invited all nations to join in the effort. A year later and Trump's administration over the weekend threatened the state of Connecticut with cutting off its federal education funding if it didn't rescind protections for transgender and nonbinary students in schools.
Monday evening Trump held a news conference threatening to deploy the military to quell unrest in states across the country. His remarks came after largely peaceful demonstrations against the police killings of African Americans in recent days were followed by scenes of looters robbing businesses and the imposition of nightly curfews in numerous cities.
Trump's daughter, Ivanka, earlier in the day did post to Twitter a message marking Pride Month that called for "Less hate, more love!"
The national LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign called out the Trump administration for not acknowledging today's start to Pride Month.
"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," stated HRC President Alphonso David. "The first pride started with protest. LGBTQ people — led in large part by transgender women of color — resisted police brutality and violence at Stonewall, the Black Cat and Compton's Cafeteria, among others. In this moment, we must unite like never before and take action, combat racism in all its forms and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality."
Biden also singled out Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, in his Pride Month statement for using the power of the White House bully pulpit to undermine LGBTQ+ rights.
"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," stated Biden.
Meanwhile, the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus sent out a statement to recognize Pride Month and note that Governor Gavin Newsom will raise the rainbow flag over the Capitol in Sacramento. Following the passage in 2018 of Assembly Bill 2969, authored by gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), the Golden State each year officially designates June as Pride Month.
"As we officially kick off Pride Month here in California, we honor the resilience of LGBTQ Californians, and in this challenging moment for our nation, also recognize the struggles of so many of our state's diverse communities," stated Newsom. "While COVID-19 is preventing Pride celebrations from happening as they normally would, we still celebrate the progress we've made toward equality and commit ourselves to the important work that lies ahead."
Added gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), chair of the affinity group for out lawmakers, "This Pride Month, due to COVID-19, we'll be celebrating Pride virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We're also mourning the death of George Floyd. Let's never forget: even in our moments of celebration, massive work lies ahead to create a world of justice and equity for all. And, even in our deepest despair, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as long as we're willing to fight to get there."