Politics

Joe Biden releases historic Transgender Day of Visibility presidential proclamation

President Joe Biden signing papers in the White House as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on.
President Joe Biden signing papers in the White House as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on.Photo: Shutterstock

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation honoring the Transgender Day of Visibility today, a historic first that’s even more remarkable after the previous president relentlessly attacked transgender rights and even refused to issue a proclamation for Pride Month.

“Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world,” Biden’s proclamation states.

Related: I created the biggest symbol of trans visibility. Here’s what today means to me.

The proclamation says that “in spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality.” It cites ongoing issues like homelessness – nearly one in three trans people experience homelessness, the proclamation states – discrimination, and violence against transgender women of color.

Biden mentioned Dr. Rachel Levine’s confirmation as assistant secretary of health, calling her one of the “barrier-breaking public servants” who “proudly and openly serve their country.”

The proclamation mentions Biden’s executive order extending many non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people and the end of Donald Trump’s transgender military ban and called on Congress to pass the Equality Act.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2021, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people.”

This is the first time that a U.S. president has recognized the Transgender Day of Visibility.

Since the 1990s, Democratic presidents including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama issued proclamations for Pride Month, but Republican presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump did not. Trump tweeted about Pride in 2019 but didn’t issue a proclamation.

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