Yesterday, President Obama issued a proclamation that affirmed June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. This celebration commemorates those who have fought for equality in our communities and fairness in our justice system -- and represents the President’s ongoing effort to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The President notes that the struggle and promise of these Americans is ingrained in the story of our country:
The story of America's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since taking office, President Obama has fought to advance the cause of greater equality for LGBT Americans. In December 2010, the President repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” -- ending a discriminatory policy and allowing LGBT military personnel to serve their country.
The Obama administration has worked to eliminate prejudice in federal housing programs, change hospital visitation rights for LGBT couples, and has established nondiscrimination policies in the federal workplace. The United States also led a campaign in the United Nations to ensure sexual orientation was included in a resolution on extrajudicial execution, condemning state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians.
President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to give law enforcement officials the ability and resources to prosecute those who commit hate crimes. The administration is also working to raise the profile and reduce the threat of bullying, hosting the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.
While our country has come closer than ever to achieving the equality that all of us deserve, the fight for equality continues:
Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.
Click here to read the full proclamation.