President Barack Obama has issued a presidential proclamation declaring June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.” The month is meant to “celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals “ and “honor those who have fought to perfect our Union.”
“From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and enshrined equal protections into our Constitution. Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society,” the president writes in the declaration.
“But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the president adds.
The president celebrated the tearing down of “barriers that limit the potential of LGBT Americans” across the country. He called on more efforts to address bullying, a ban on so-called “gay conversion therapy” for minors, and LGBT homelessness, which is significantly higher than the population as a whole.
Obama has been the most vocally pro-LGBT president in American history, shepherding a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) – the military’s ban on soldiers from being “out” that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton – through Congress during his first term. The president also signed an executive order to ban workplace discrimination among federal contractors and famously became the first sitting president to publicly support marriage equality.
The president has also called on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal non-discrimination protections for private sector workers in hiring and employment.
“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,” the president writes in the declaration.
June is typically the month where most American cities celebrate LGBT Pride. It is a tradition dating back to the Stonewall Riots, a spontaneous reaction to police crackdowns against gay bars in New York City. The first Gay Pride parade was held one month to the day of the Stonewall riots.