With Republican-led state legislatures currently pressing for anti-transgender measures in 31 states, Democratic governors and one Republican governor have stepped up to show support as LGBT Pride month gets underway.
The president led the way.
On June 1, President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation officially making June 'LGBT and Queer Pride Month.'
The proclamation says, “Pride is a time to recall the trials the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought—and continue to fight—for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity.”
Biden also used the proclamation to highlight the Administration's LGBT contributions so far, “Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBT, and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBT person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.”
The president also noted there is a lot yet to do on behalf of LGBT Americans.
He cited lack of protections in hospitals, schools, and other public spaces.
He noted a “tragic spike in violence against transgender women of color” and a rise in self-harm and death by suicide among trans youth of color.
“Some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation's values of inclusivity and freedom for all,” Biden said.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, “Celebrating the diversity of our society has been a cornerstone of my administration. And during LGBT Pride month, I remain committed to help Illinois become a beacon of hope for our LGBT community nationwide.”
Pritzker noted his administration's achievements.
“Our state has brought inclusive LGBT curriculum into our schools. We expanded Medicaid coverage for gender affirming surgery. We required single occupancy restrooms be designated as gender neutral. And so much more,” he said.
“Though Illinois has made great strides in the fight for equality, it's incumbent on all of us to keep up that fight. I'm proud that Illinois stands as a leader in equality and hope and I will continue to fight for LGBT rights so our state is affirming and inclusive for all.”
Utah Republican Gov. Spencer J. Cox, who was inaugurated earlier this year, bucked his own political party to become the first Utah governor to recognize Pride month.
“Here in Utah, we strive to create a culture of hope, love, understanding, and respect by celebrating our common humanity,” the Latter-day Saints church member said as he issued his Pride declaration.
The legal document says, “We must encourage relevant and vital conversations about what it means to love each other, understand our differences, and support our LGBT friends and family members.”
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did the opposite to kick off Pride month. He vetoed funding for LGBT mental health and funding for the conversion of a former hotel to house homeless LGBT youth.
The day before the vetoes, DeSantis signed a law banning transgender athletes from participating in sports with their proper gender identity.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings (FL-10th district) responded, “The first day of Pride, Florida's governor signed legislation targeting transgender children—again, children—for exclusion and discrimination. It's wrong. We must protect our children.”
Other Democratic governors issued their own proclamations and declarations.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom flew the Pride flag over the state capitol building saying, “From West Hollywood to the Castro District, California is home to many vibrant LGBTQ communities. By flying the pride flag over the state capitol, we send a clear message that we believe in living authentically, no matter who you are or who you love.”
Colorado's openly gay Gov. Jared Polis said, “I am so proud to be Governor of a state that celebrates love across the board and truly represents a Colorado for all.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, “The LGBT community is an essential part of who we are, and I am committed to making this state a place where you are protected and able to thrive while being your authentic self. We have come so far, but there is still so much work left to do.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said, “I am proud to proclaim June as LGBT Pride month in Nevada as we remain committed to equality. And this month is an opportunity to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had and will continue to have on our state and nation.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, “While Pride shouldn't be limited to just a month, it is an opportunity to educate ourselves on systemic issues faced by the LGBT community. Let's celebrate all the activists and leaders who got us here and commit to continuing the fight.”Related: Pride is back in 2021! Everything you need to know for Pride Month in Chicago