In his recent presidential proclamation on Pride Month, President Biden declared that “we honor a movement that has grown stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive with every passing year. Pride is a celebration of generations of LGBTQI+ people, who have fought bravely to live openly and authentically.”
Although it may not be surprising that Biden issued a proclamation on Pride Month, official recognition from the President of the United States each year is not a given. A look at recent history reveals one determinative factor: political party.
Pride Month is held each year in June to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which marked a turning point in the struggle for LGBTQ equality. In 1999, thirty years later, President Bill Clinton was the first to proclaim June as Pride Month while also announcing that the Stonewall Inn had just been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The next year, in June 2000, Clinton issued a new proclamation, noting that “[w]ith each passing year the American people become more receptive to diversity and more open to those who are different from themselves.” Clinton also expressed “hope that in the new millennium we will continue to break down the walls of fear and prejudice.”
George W. Bush, a Republican who lost the popular vote and won the Electoral College under unusual, dubious circumstances, then held office for the next eight years. Rather than continue the precedent Clinton set, Dubya not once officially acknowledged Pride Month.
President Barack Obama swiftly reversed course. In June 2009, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Obama issued what would become his first of eight consecutive presidential proclamations for Pride Month. After the long hiatus, Obama pointed out that “[t]hese issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation” because when “the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected.”
The next four years offered Donald Trump an opportunity to officially recognize Pride Month, especially given how he campaigned as an LGBTQ ally, calling himself the “better friend” compared to his rival, Hillary Clinton. However, just like his Republican predecessor, Trump issued zero proclamations for Pride Month. Instead, he expressed his supposed support for Pride Month once, in a 2019 tweet that focused on decriminalizing homosexuality around the world.
Now that a Democratic President sits in the Oval Office, we don’t think twice about expecting an official recognition of Pride Month every year. This is just one of countless reasons why America is better off with a Democrat as its chief executive. As Biden wrote in his newest proclamation, “[L]et us celebrate the pride that powers the movement for LGBTQI+ rights and commit to doing our part to help realize the promise of America, for all Americans.” Do you hear that, Republicans?