President Barack Obama has proclaimed June 2011 “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.”
Painting the LGBT experience as the “story about the struggle to realize that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law,” Obama highlighted the steps his administration has taken for gay rights, including passing the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation and giving the LGBT community more access to federal housing programs.
Obama made the same proclamation in June 2010, picking up where President Bill Clinton left off in 2000, when he marked the month “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.”
President George W. Bush angered many gay rights activists by saying no to the June celebration, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Justice Department barred a group of employees from celebrating the month.
June was chosen in honor the 1969 Greenwich Village riots at the Stonewall Inn where gay rights advocates clashed with New York City police over alleged discrimination.
Obama noted his administration’s efforts to prevent bullying, especially of gay people, and to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS virus within LGBT circles.
The gay community does not, however, have the month to themselves. Obama also proclaimed June “National Caribbean-American Heritage Month,” “African-American Music Appreciation Month” and “Great Outdoors Month.”