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Jill and Ashley Biden welcome hundreds to rainbow-themed White House Pride Month party

FLOTUS Jill Biden pride month 2024 reception white house south lawn rainbow pillars LGBTQ support
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosted a colorful celebration of joy for the LGBTQ+ community on the South Lawn.

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On a sweltering Wednesday evening, the White House South Lawn was awash with rainbow hues and vibrant celebrations as hundreds gathered to mark the end of Pride Month. The heat wave sweeping Washington, D.C., did little to dampen the spirits of those in attendance, as the iconic columns of the presidential mansion stood adorned in the colors of the Pride flag — an imposing visual that could seen by tourists and onlookers far away.

The event kicked off with Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, resplendent in a multi-colored dress, introducing her mother, First Lady Jill Biden. Ashley’s speech was a poignant reminder of the power of unconditional love and acceptance. “I grew up with two loving parents who told me that I could be anything and that they would love me,” she said. “Unfortunately, not all children have this experience. Too many LGBTQ children grow up in homes that don’t accept them.”

Ashley lauded the Biden administration’s unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s why my dad has built the most equality-focused administration in history,” she proudly stated. She also paid tribute to trailblazers Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, whose bravery sparked a movement that continues to inspire.

“We celebrate Pride this month because 55 years ago, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera stood up and began a movement,” she said. “Their fight against injustice continues through us.”

FLOTUS Jill Biden daughter Ashley pride month 2024 reception white house south lawn rainbow dress LGBTQ supportSAUL LOEB/AFP

Jill Biden took the stage to cheers and applause. She celebrated the administration’s achievements, including the landmark Obergefell v. HodgesU.S. Supreme Court decision nine years ago Wednesday that legalized same-sex marriages, ushering in marriage equality and President Joe Biden’s pardons for service members discharged due to their sexual orientation, announced earlier in the day.

“These are big victories, but our triumphs also live in the small moments,” Jill Biden said.

There was a small disruption during Jill Biden’s speech when a small group of pro-Palestine protesters called out about the war in Gaza, and U.S. Secret Service agents immediately escorted the people out of the event. Members of the crowd shouted "four more years" during the disruption.

“To all the kids here, you can tell your parents that I said to make sure that you enjoy the best lawn in America,” Jill Biden said to cheers.

She also addressed the ongoing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and the high stakes of the upcoming election. “Even as we celebrate, we know that this community is under attack. Many of you know that all too well and have come here from states that are passing laws targeting LGBTQ Americans,” she said. “But when our homes are threatened, when they strip away our rights and deny our basic humanity, we say, not on our watch.”

Jill Biden also underscored the importance of the election in safeguarding these rights.

“Pride is a celebration, but it’s also a declaration that we will not be silenced. Our victories testify to our strength, and we must continue to stand up for our community and our values.”

The celebration was attended by a host of luminaries, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten; Assistant Secretary for Health ADM Rachel Levine; actor and singer Billy Porter; White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; Colorado Governor Jared Polis; and California U.S. Rep. Mark Takano. LGBTQ+ activist Jim Obergefell, Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson, rapper Da Brat, and former Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims were also in attendance, along with representatives from equalpride, the parent company of The Advocate, including CEO Mark Berryhill, executive director of digital content Kayla Gagnet, editor of advocate.com Alex Cooper, and editor-in-chief of Out Daniel Reynolds.

Deborah Cox took to the stage for an electrifying performance and had the crowd dancing and singing along. Attendees enjoyed a variety of refreshments, from alcohol-spiked Pride Punch to assorted lemonades and non-alcoholic beverages. Light fare and ice cream were served. Misting stations provided much-needed relief from the heat, and the White House medical unit was on hand to address any emergencies.

FLOTUS Jill Biden onstage singer Deborah Cox LGBTQ pride month 2024 reception white house south lawnSAUL LOEB/AFP

Bobby Berk, a former Queer Eye cast member, was also present and shared his thoughts in an interview with The Advocate.

“To be a little gay kid from Missouri who at one point was homeless when he was 15 because he came out and his family didn’t accept him, to now be here at the White House, not only being here at the White House but being invited by an administration who loves and supports us and not just us, but everyone. It’s a big deal,” he said.

As the celebration at the White House concluded, many guests made their way across town to continue the night’s festivities. Pride Month was being celebrated across the nation’s capital, with British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce hosting a reception at her ornate residence and gardens on the campus of the British Embassy. New Zealand ambassador to the United States, Rosemary Banks, co-hosted the affair.

Joe Biden was absent, preparing at Camp David for the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle against former President Donald Trump.

“When our homes are threatened, when they strip away our rights and deny our basic humanity, we say, not on our watch,” Jill Biden said. “Pride is a celebration, but it’s also a declaration that we will not be silenced.”

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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).