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Jill Biden Champions LGBTQ+ Rights Movement's History Amid Rising Anti-Transgender Legislation

Happy US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden
Image: Shutterstock

The first lady underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s unwavering support for LGBTQ+ rights at the PFLAG national convention amidst a torrent of discriminatory bills nationwide.


First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s spirited address at the PFLAG national convention in Arlington, Va., not only celebrated the organization’s 50-year legacy of fostering acceptance and battling for equal rights but also underscored the Biden-Harris administration’s unyielding support for the LGBTQ+ community during a time of heightened animosity.

Her Friday afternoon speech resonates against a disquieting backdrop where far-right factions have escalated efforts to vilify the LGBTQ+ community, with transgender individuals often bearing the brunt of the hostility.

Introduced by PFLAG Executive Director Brian Bond, Biden highlighted the profound positive impact of PFLAG’s initiatives.

“We are living in extremely challenging times right now here at home and around the world,” Bond said as he acknowledged Biden’s company. Bond served as the first out gay director of the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Barack Obama's administration, during which time he came to know the Bidens, he said.

“President Biden has been a true champion – an ally – to the LGBTQ+ community, not just in words but in actions,” Bond said.

“Dr. Biden is one of the most authentic individuals you will ever meet,” Bond added. “She is genuine and a true ally to our community."

Biden reflected on the courage of PFLAG’s founder, Jeanne Manford, who spoke out to support LGBTQ+ rights when that was still unheard of.

In April 1972, Manford’s advocacy journey began when her son Morty, a gay activist, was brutally attacked during a political gathering in New York City, prompting her to publicly condemn the police inaction in a letter to the New York Post.

This advocacy took a public form on June 25 of the same year when she, alongside Morty, participated in the New York Pride March, holding a sign that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children” at a time when societal norms heavily stigmatized and criminalized homosexuality.

Inspired by the warm reception from the parade attendees, Jeanne and her husband Jules conceived the idea of an organization, initially named Parents of Gays, aimed at bridging the divide between the gay and heterosexual communities, marking the inception of a supportive network for parents of LGBTQ+ people.

“In those eight words, Jeanne came out to the world and gave other parents the space to do the same,” Biden said.

The administration’s support for the LGBTQ+ community comes at a crucial juncture. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, over 500 bills have been proposed nationwide, aiming to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. This legislative onslaught signifies a distressing trend of intolerance and discrimination, including attacks on healthcare, education, and books.

“In America, my friends, we do not ban books!” Biden exclaimed to rousing applause, referring to the massive uptick in book bans across the U.S. Many of those bans target LGBTQ+ books.

Related: There's Been a 33% Increase In Book Bans Across the U.S., Says PEN America

“From today’s perspective, it’s easy to forget what a revolutionary concept it was that parents, families, and friends would organize in support of their lesbian and gay children,” Biden said, celebrating PFLAG’s longevity.

She acknowledged the profound change ignited by small decisions.

“Sometimes, it’s the smallest decisions that change the course of history,” Biden said. She noted that she celebrated PFLAG’s enduring impact: “PFLAG is living proof that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

She urged attendees to continue their advocacy, saying, “Continue to summon Jeanne’s courage. Because the world needs those small acts of love now more than ever.”

Biden told the crowd, “Thank you for making lasting change, for leading with love.”

Recent engagements such as the 2023 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner last Saturday saw President Joe Biden and the first lady reiterating their unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community amid enthusiastic cheers of “Four more years!”

“At the core of PFLAG is family,” Jill Biden said. “And family is love.”

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