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Joe Biden at Stonewall's 55th anniversary: The LGBTQ+ community ‘set an example for the world’

tombstone protest signs remember stonewall during 1989 dedication ceremony Stonewall Place Christopher Street Greenwich Village New York City
Erica Berger/Newsday RM via Getty Images

The president and first lady spoke at the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement a day after the first presidential debate.

Cwnewser

As New York City gears up for this weekend’s Pride Month festivities, the LGBTQ+ community was top-of-mind for the President Joe Biden as he visited Stonewall on Friday.

In a historic and momentous occasion for the LGBTQ+ community, Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden attended the grand opening of theStonewall National Monument Visitor Center inManhattan. Biden is the first sitting president to visit the historic birthplace of the modernLGBTQ+ rights movement. This center, the first of its kind in the U.S. National Park Service, is a testament to the enduring fight for LGBTQ+ rights and commemorates the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Dr. Biden opened her remarks by recognizing the importance of storytelling. “As a writing teacher, I’ve always believed that the stories we tell shape our world,” she said. “This monument and visitor center tell a story that we all need to know, no matter who we are. It teaches us the power of hope and persistence. It inspires us to work harder for the world that our children deserve. It reminds us that our differences are precious and our similarities infinite. This is American history, and like so many victories that the LGBTQ community has won throughout the years, this is a work of love.”

She also praised the efforts of Diana Rodriguez and Ann Marie Gothard, co-founders of Pride Live’s Stonewall Day and key figures behind the center, for their dedication and vision. “Diana and Marie, with your hope and dedication, you’ve shown us that love can move mountains,” she said.

Gothard expressed gratitude for the support the center has received, noting, “The official grand opening of the first LGBTQ+ visitor center in the U.S. National Park Service is such an incredible way to acknowledge Pride 2024 and the 55th anniversary of Stonewall. We owe a debt of gratitude to Valerie Jarrett, who planted the seed for what has become this incredible landmark.”

She continued, “To all of you here today, your presence means the world to us. We wouldn’t be here without the incredible community behind us. The president and First Lady of the United States, [Interior] Secretary Deb Haaland, [New York] Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Assembly Member Deborah Glick. A special thanks to our founding partners who believed in our mission.”

President Biden reflected on his visit as a private citizen to the Stonewall Inn in 2019 and underscored the site’s significance. “This beloved bar became the site of a call to cry for freedom, dignity, equality, and respect,” he remarked. “You marked a turning point in civil rights in America.”

The president praised the courage and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. “LGBTQ+ people are some of the most inspiring people I know,” he said. “Your courage and contributions enrich every part of American life. You set an example for the entire world.”

President Biden also highlighted the significant contributions of transgender people. “Stonewall remains a symbol of the legacy of leadership at the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans women of color for generations who have been at the forefront of helping realize the promise of America for all Americans,” Biden said.

Elton John Joe Biden Speaks Stonewall Monument Centervia CNN Newsource Live stream

Elton John, the legendary singer and passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, made an appearance at the event. “Thank you for celebrating our place as equal and valued members of society,” John said. He also addressed the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. “Over 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures across America this year. Discrimination and criminalization threaten the lives of our LGBTQ+ family. But today, we celebrate progress and commit to fighting on.”

In a moment that showcased his fiery passion, John declared, “Do we stand up for our vision and our values or let misinformation and senseless scapegoating turn back the clock? No fucking way.”

Standing behind him onstage, Biden laughed and jokingly crossed himself as the crowd cheered.

Last year, Vice PresidentKamala Harris visited the Stonewall Inn, making herthe first sitting vice president to do so. Harris’s visit highlighted the administration’s continued focus on LGBTQ+ rights and the significance of the Stonewall site.

Last week, DemocraticNew York U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres, Dan Goldman, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrandintroduced resolutions to designate June 28 as Stonewall Day, honoring the 1969 uprising. “The Stonewall Inn protests were a pivotal moment for the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement,” Gillibrand said.

The Stonewall National Monument, designated by PresidentBarack Obama in 2016, is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and history. The new visitor center will provide educational resources and historical context to the millions who visit the site each year, ensuring that the legacy of the Stonewall uprising remains a pivotal chapter in American history.

Following the opening ceremony, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will attend the 25th annual LGBTQ+ Leadership Council Gala, a significant fundraiser benefiting the Biden Victory Fund. The gala, which will be held in New York City, is essential for supporting political initiatives and campaigns that advocate for equality and inclusion. Last year, Harris made headlines with her surprise visit to the historic Stonewall Inn before attending the same gala.

“LGBTQ+ people are some of the most inspiring people I know. Your courage and contributions enrich every part of American life,” President Biden said during his speech, adding, “You set an example for the entire world.”

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).