June 1, 2021 - President Joe Biden's Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, June 2021.

The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice joe biden president official photo 2021for all.  Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) 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.  This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.

The LGBTQ+ community in America has achieved remarkable progress since Stonewall.  Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act broadened the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity.  Members of the LGBTQ+ community now serve in nearly every level of public office — in city halls and State capitals, Governors’ mansions and the halls of the Congress, and throughout my Administration.  Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+, and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate. 

For all of our progress, there are many States in which LGBTQ+ individuals still lack protections for fundamental rights and dignity in hospitals, schools, public accommodations, and other spaces.  Our Nation continues to witness a tragic spike in violence against transgender women of color.  LGBTQ+ individuals — especially youth who defy sex or gender norms — face bullying and harassment in educational settings and are at a disproportionate risk of self-harm and death by suicide.  Some States have chosen to actively target transgender youth through discriminatory bills that defy our Nation’s values of inclusivity and freedom for all.

Our Nation also continues to face tragic levels of violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color.  And we are still haunted by tragedies such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.  Ending violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community demands our continued focus and diligence.  As President, I am committed to defending the rights of all LGBTQ+ individuals. 

My Administration is taking historic actions to finally deliver full equality for LGBTQ+ families.  On my first day in office, I signed an Executive Order charging Federal agencies to fully enforce all Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  As a result, the Federal Government has taken steps to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, health care, housing, lending, and education.  I also signed an Executive Order affirming all qualified Americans will be able to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States — including patriotic transgender Americans who can once again proudly and openly serve their Nation in uniform — and a National Security Memorandum that commits to supporting LGBTQ+ Federal employees serving overseas.  My Administration is also working to promote and protect LGBTQ+ human rights abroad.  LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, which is why my Administration has reaffirmed America’s commitment to supporting those on the front lines of the equality and democracy movements around the world, often at great risk.  We see you, we support you, and we are inspired by your courage to accept nothing less than full equality.

While I am proud of the progress my Administration has made in advancing protections for the LGBTQ+ community, I will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.  That is why I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Equality Act, which will ensure civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people and families across our country.  And that is why we must recognize emerging challenges, like the fact that many LGBTQ+ seniors, who faced discrimination and oppression throughout their lives, are isolated and need support and elder care. 

During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically.  In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.  This Pride Month, we affirm our obligation to uphold the dignity of all people, and dedicate ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable among us.

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 June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
Source: Office oof the White House

When state Rep. Stephanie Byers, a former high school music and band teacher, decided to run for office to represent Kansas' 86th District as a Democrat in the Republican-majority state House, she didn't know what to expect. The district, which includes much of Wichita, was nearly evenly divided among Democratic, Republican and independent voters, said Byers, who also happens to be transgender.

After her win in November, she's now Kansas' first transgender elected official and the country's first trans Native American elected official. (Byers is a descendant of the Chickasaw Nation.)

"When you add in the uniqueness of myself as a candidate, being a trans woman, nobody really knew how this district was going to play out," said Byers, 58. "There was uncertainty the whole time."

So when she found out that she had fended off her Republican opponent by 11 points, she was elated, she said. Her win, she said, was "indicative of where the people of Kansas are."

"We're more of a purple state than people realize — we're just a purple state that always seems to go red," she said. "It really is that the people are more accepting than the politics are."

Several policy proposals targeting LGBTQ Kansans have come up since Byers took office: In February, four House Republicans introduced a bill that would have made it a felony for doctors to provide gender-affirming surgery or other transition-related treatments to minors. And in April, the Legislature voted to ban transgender athletes' playing on girls' and women's school sports teams — one of the dozens of bills targeting transgender youths introduced in statehouses across the country. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, called the bill "regressive" and vetoed it; legislators came one vote short of overriding the veto in the Senate.

Byers testified against the bill at a hearing in February, saying the school district where she had taught provided a welcoming environment for transgender students. The district also lost trans students to suicide, she said, adding that she feared it could happen again if the bill were enacted.

"When my trans students would hear their names called and their pronouns used, they would beam," she said at the hearing. "It's a tremendous feeling to not be invisible but rather be seen for who you truly are."

It was one of many moments in Byers' new political career when she relied on communication strategies she honed in more than two decades teaching at Kansas' largest public high school.

"When you teach, it's not necessarily what you're trying to say — it's how it's received. When dealing with politics, you sit there and consider, 'What I'm going to say, how it's going to be received, how can I make those connections so that the message gets through?'" she said. "I'm a physical embodiment of what they're talking about — even if they see me as a 58-year-old woman and not a 16-year-old girl — but they realize this is who a trans person is."

While she has faced her fair share of challenges in the state House, Byers' students and school community were "overwhelmingly supportive" of her identity since she came out as transgender in 2014, she said

By the time she retired in 2019, she had begun to be recognized nationally as an advocate by LGBTQ organizations. In 2018, she was named Educator of the Year by the national LGBTQ youth advocacy group GLSEN. In October 2019, she spoke out in behalf of trans educators and students at a rally sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union outside the Supreme Court as its justices were hearing arguments in cases that would ultimately forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.By the time she retired in 2019, she had begun to be recognized nationally as an advocate by LGBTQ organizations. In 2018, she was named Educator of the Year by the national LGBTQ youth advocacy group GLSEN. In October 2019, she spoke out in behalf of trans educators and students at a rally sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union outside the Supreme Court as its justices were hearing arguments in cases that would ultimately forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the House's next session, Byers hopes to continue to propose policies protecting LGBTQ Kansans. She wants the state to ban gay and trans conversion therapy and amend the Kansas Act Against Discrimination to include explicit protections on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. She also wants to better fund public schools, expand Medicaid in the state and increase broadband access in rural areas, she said.

Byers said that during Pride Month, she will speak at an LGBTQ celebration in McPherson, about 60 miles north of Wichita. Many of the state's Pride events, including Wichita Pride, are held in September, when the weather cools down, she said.

To Byers, Pride "is a statement of survival, it's a statement of embracing, it's a statement of identity, and it's a statement of acceptance."

She hopes her position in office will help pave the way for future acceptance of more trans women of color in Kansas politics.

"Part of what I realize that my responsibility is is not just legislating for the moment but also making sure I'm opening a door and I'm holding that door open for the next trans woman of color to step into office," she said. "I may be the first trans woman of Indigenous descent, but I shouldn't be the only."

After missing a key deadline on Sunday evening, six bills seeking to ban transgender health care now appear to have died this legislative session. But advocates aren’t celebrating yet.

The final two bills seeking to ban transgender health care for minors — legislation that critics say has promoted discrimination and threatened the mental health of trans kids — appeared to fizzle out in the state Legislature late Sunday evening after weeks of pushback from families and advocates.

A bevy of bills filed this legislative session sought to ban such care, although medical experts overwhelmingly support access to these services. The bills would have rewritten the definition of child abuse to include parents who allow their children to access transition care or have stripped doctors providing this care of their licenses and liability insurance.

Although the health care bills have missed a key deadline to advance, opponents of the legislation say they are looking out for possible amendments tacked onto unrelated bills that could still restrict access to trans kids.

Whether or not the bills are passed into law, they have had a profound impact on the transgender community in Texas, said Angela Hale, a spokesperson for Equality Texas.

"The discussion that is taking place is very damaging to trans children," Hale said. "The results are that trans children feel like they don't belong, like they are not worthy of fighting for."

Opponents publicly fought the bills as they advanced in Austin, testifying at committee hearings against the proposals.

But advocates say they only feel a slight sense of relief: One additional bill that would make transgender kids play on the sports teams that match their sex assigned at birth is still up for a vote by the House.

"We are relieved that the most dangerous pieces of legislation targeting trans children are dead, but we’re concerned about SB 29," Hale said. "I don’t want to have to look into the eyes of these parents who have poured their hearts out fighting for their kids and tell them that their state leaders have failed them."

The lawmakers who wrote the bills have argued that Texans younger than 18 aren't old enough to make these decisions — though some advocates protesting the legislation have also argued that this line of reasoning further stigmatizes the intersex community by carving out an exception in narrow circumstances.

"I’m very happy that these bills failed," said Alicia Roth Weigel, an intersex advocate in Austin. "But until the broader community becomes aware and knowledgeable on intersex issues, then I feel like these bills will continue to come back and and sometimes pass under people’s noses without even realizing."

During the legislative session, children have openly expressed fear of their parents going to jail. Some families said they'd be forced to move out of Texas if these bills passed.

Indigo Giles, a non-binary teenager from Houston, described this session as "disheartening," "frustrating" and "traumatic." They're still on edge and will be for some time.

"I almost can’t let myself have hope," Giles said. "SB 29 is still out there, so even with the victories, the fight isn’t over. And we don’t know what’s going to happen with this special session."

After this legislative session, Giles plans to spend the summer goofing off with their sibling and going on a road trip to see friends perform a musical in Austin.

"I need to remind myself that I can be a normal teenager and do chill things because I’ve been ‘on' for seven weeks now," Giles said. "So I'll get to switch ‘off' and just be Indi, instead of like ‘Indigo Giles: Teen Advocate.'

 

 A bill that would prohibit health care providers from providing gender-affirming treatments for transgender children was passed by the Texas Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1311 moves on to the Texas House for approval. If passed by the lower chamber, the bill would then need to be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Under the proposed legislation, the Texas Medical Board would revoke the license of a physician or other medical professional for “prescribing and performing gender transitioning or gender assignment medical procedures or treatments to children, including surgeries, puberty-blocking drugs, and cross-sex hormones.”

“I think we have a responsibility for protecting children,” Republican Sen. Bob Hall, the bill’s author, said. “I think our job is to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”

House Bill 1399, a companion bill to SB 1311, failed to receive initial approval before a deadline in the Texas House.

LGBTQ advocates have fought against both HB 1399 and SB 1311 this legislative session, arguing lawmakers are attempting to take decision-making ability away from patients and their physicians.

The presidents of Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby colleges wrote a joint letter to the Maine Legislature, expressing support for transgender student-athletes.

The three Maine colleges strongly oppose two bills that would ban transgender females from participating in sports in schools and colleges.

The letter says in part:

"We should not exclude transgender girls from these important experiences, force them to choose between being themselves and participating in sports."

There are several bills in Augusta banning transgender athletes from taking part in girls sports in Maine.

The three Maine colleges strongly oppose two bills that would ban transgender females from participating in sports in schools and colleges.

The letter says in part:

"We should not exclude transgender girls from these important experiences, force them to choose between being themselves and participating in sports."

There are several bills in Augusta banning transgender athletes from taking part in girls sports in Maine.

Supporters say those born male have an unfair advantage, but opponents argue it’s discrimination.

Two bills in the legislature would ban biological males from participating in girls sports from elementary school through college.

Under O’Connor’s bill, if someone challenged an athlete’s identity, they would need a doctor’s note saying they’re female based on anatomy, levels of testosterone or analysis of the student’s chromosomes.

Since 2013, the Maine Principals Association has allowed students to participate in activities in a way that’s consistent with their gender identity.

Buy It Now!