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.”
Read the full release below:
The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and
sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors
who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union.
It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American
promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under
the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals
who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and
we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all,
regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since taking office, my Administration has made significant
progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last
December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian
Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the
first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be
strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to
our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully
My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate
discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs
and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones
in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch
nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of
gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated.
I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified,
openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial
positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human
rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around
the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting
LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations
from full participation in the international system. We led a
global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in
the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the
only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT
people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where
it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is
indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or
who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented
public commitments from countries around the world to join in the
fight against hate and homophobia.
At home, we are working to address and eliminate
violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement
and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.
Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the
threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth.
My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community
leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in
schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or
inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the
first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March.
Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in
reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording
“It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.
This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence
of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the
LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this
devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am
committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS
Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on
combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new
HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for
people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities.
My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to
support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and
to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government
cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary
is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to
raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against
this deadly pandemic.
Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer
to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken
time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans
remind us that history is on our side, and that the American
people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me
by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to
eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the
great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord
two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States
of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.