(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled new initiatives to support LGBTQ Americans and called recent anti-trans efforts “thoroughly unjustified” and “ugly.”
Biden was set to host the White House’s largest-ever Pride celebration but had to postpone due to the heavy smoke that inundated Washington, as well as other major U.S. cities, from raging Canadian wildfires.
Instead, he discussed the initiatives during a press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when asked about his message to families who no longer feel safe amid increasing legislative onslaughts in Republican-led states.
Biden, who first touted his administration’s work to reverse the transgender military ban and his signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, slammed the effort to rollback such protections.
“Our fight is far, far from over because we have some hysterical, and I would argue prejudiced, people who are engaged in all you what see going on around the country,” he said. “It’s an appeal to fear and an appeal that is totally, thoroughly unjustified, ugly.”
Biden continued, “It’s wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors. These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It’s cruel and callous.”
The president then turned to the administration’s new measures aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community, which are being rolled out during Pride Month. They include appointing a coordinator to take on book bans around the country, security training for LGBTQ community groups and health care providers, a new advisory to help mental health providers and new resources to address youth homelessness in the LGBTQ community.
“LGBTQ Americans, especially children, you’re loved, you’re heard, and this administration has your back,” Biden said Thursday. “And I mean it. We are not relenting one single second to make sure that they’re protected.”
The announcement comes just days after the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ people in the United States. More than 75 bills have been signed into law this year that restrict the community in some way, according to the organization.
Log Cabin Republicans, the self-described “largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies” in the United States, accused the HRC of “destructively redefining support for the LGBT community around trans surgeries for minors, biological men competing in women’s sports, and sex and gender identity lessons in kindergarten.”
“The HRC’s latest PR stunt is so ignorantly detached from the incredible LGBT progress over the past decade that we’d be shocked if their donors even buy it,” the statement said. “Bipartisan legislation codifying gay marriage was signed into law just last year, public support for equal rights for LGBT Americans has never been higher, and LGBT Americans are increasingly visible and respected throughout our culture.”
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security also warned threats against LGBTQ individuals were on the rise.
The White House Pride event, which hundreds of LGBTQ families and children were slated to attend, will now take place this coming Saturday.
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