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Biden Rolls Out New LGBTQ+ Resources on Day of Historic White House Pride Celebration

Biden Rolls Out New LGBTQ+ Resources on Day of Historic White House Pride Celebration

<p>Biden Rolls Out New LGBTQ+ Resources on Day of Historic White House Pride Celebration</p>

Thousands of LGBTQ+ people have been invited to attend a celebration of Pride on the South Lawn of the White House.

Thousands of LGBTQ+ people and their allies, including families from across the country, will celebrate Pride Month on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday evening, the same day that Biden has announced new resources to support the LGBTQ+ community.

It will be the largest LGBTQ+ Pride celebration ever held at the executive mansion, according to White House officials. The move marks one of the most meaningful elevations of the community by a sitting president. Neera Tanden, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the event would be the largest Pride celebration in White House history.

But besides merely showcasing Pride or “rainbow-washing,” Biden has directed his administration and the government to address the LGBTQ+ community’s concerns.

In reaction to Republican-led legislatures targeting transgender youth and other minorities, the White House announced a series of LGBTQ+ community support measures. Several new initiatives at the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other agencies have been announced as part of the administration’s efforts to support LGBTQ+ youth.

With Pride Month well underway, the White House announced a new partnership with the Department of Homeland Security to provide safe training and resources to LGBTQ community organizations. According to Tanden, the program is intended to help LGBTQ+ centers and healthcare providers prepare for bomb threats, active shooters, and cyberattacks.

“It’s so unfortunate to have to say this,” Tanden began as she described the program.

Republicans and right-wing extremists, like the Proud Boys, have targeted LGBTQ+ events with threats and violence nationwide. These extremists have been urged on by the right to disrupt Pride events this year, and already there have been melees at California school boards for acknowledging June as Pride Month.

Earlier this week, Human Rights Campaign took an unprecedented step and declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States. The HRC made the decision after more than 525 anti-LGBT+ bills were introduced this year, and more than 70 became law — more than double that of last year.

While HHS is developing regulations to ensure LGBTQ foster children receive safe and appropriate placements, HUD is developing an initiative to address homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth.

The Department of Education will also appoint a coordinator to handle the growing number of state-level book bans. A senior White House official said the bans in Florida have disproportionately impacted LGBTQ communities and communities of color, negatively affecting their mental health.

Officials said the coordinator would also monitor whether book bans create hostile environments for certain groups of students, which might violate civil rights laws. The position will work out of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

The CEO of AmeriCorps, Michael D. Smith, lauded Biden’s moves to protect the LGBTQ+ community.

“President Biden’s new executive actions today, protecting LGBTQI+ communities from attacks on their rights and safety, are an important step in the right direction, and to me, they’re personal. When I was appointed by President Biden to lead AmeriCorps, defending and advancing the rights of LGBTQI+ communities was one of my top priorities, because we work and serve in communities like the one I grew up in,” Smith said.

“As a Black gay man, I’m truly honored – especially on days like today – to serve with President Biden and Vice President Harris, who have continuously fought for underserved communities across our great country,” he continued. “With more than a dozen states enacting anti-LGBTQI+ laws that violate our most basic values and freedoms as Americans, we recognize that this fight is far from over. AmeriCorps and the Biden-Harris Administration will continue our focus on advancing equality and equity for LGBTQI+ Americans.”

In response to violence and legislative efforts to limit the freedoms of LGBTQ+ people, the administration has emphasized the need for additional resources. Tanden said the Republican party has focused on blocking transgender youth's access to gender-affirming care and regulating whether transgender youth can compete in sports.

During his presidency, Biden has taken many actions to affirm and defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people. As part of these actions, he signed the Respect for Marriage Act, appointed a record number of LGBTQ individuals to administration posts, and reversed the military ban on serving transgender servicemembers.

Food, face painting, and music will be offered on Thursday evening, including a performance by out pop star Betty Who. As well as Biden, members of an LGBTQ+ family will speak.

The South Lawn celebration signals to the world “that LGBTQ people belong in the People’s House,” Tanden added.

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