President Bill Clinton first declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride month in 2000, and President Barack Obama recently expanded the observance by designating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. During June, we celebrate the notion that diversity is a gift. Check back each Friday this month as we feature LGBT voices, struggles and triumphs and explore what “pride” really means.
President Obama has made it official. June 2011 has been proclaimed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month — a time to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the diversity of the American people. The White House proclamation reads in part:
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.
LGBT people have a lot to be proud of this June. From the successful legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the administration’s historic decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) in federal courts, the LGBT community has seen remarkable advances in recent years that few could have predicted just several years ago. Despite all of that, however, much work remains, including passage of long-delayed federal employment non-discrimination protections for LGBT workers; anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections for some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community — youth in K-12 schools; and, of course, the freedom to marry for all committed couples.
President Obama also recognized the profound and devastating impact that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has had on the LGBT community as we pause to mark the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the disease.
In addition, the White House unveiled a first-of-its-kind webpage dedicated specifically to the LGBT community.
As we celebrate our triumphs and reflect on our history throughout the month of June, I hope you all will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the ACLU in our work on behalf of LGBT people and those living with HIV/AIDS.