WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has invited thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate Pride Month on Thursday in a high-profile show of support at a time when the community feels under attack like never before and the White House has little recourse to beat back a flood of state-level legislation against them.
Biden announced new initiatives to protect LGBTQ+ communities from attacks, help youths with mental health resources and homelessness and counter book bans, though the impacts may be limited.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the first openly gay White House press secretary, said Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses are strong supporters of the LGBTQ+ community and think that having a celebration is an important way to “lift up” their accomplishments and contributions.
She said LGBTQ+ people need to know that Biden “has their back” and “will continue to fight for them. And that’s the message that we want to make sure that gets out there.”
Biden, a Democrat, announced that the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Justice and Health and Human Services departments, will partner with LGBTQ+ community organisations to provide safety resources and training to help thwart violent attacks.
Polls show public support for the rights of people who are gay and lesbian has expanded dramatically over the last two decades, with about 7 in 10 US adults in polling by Gallup saying that marriages between same-sex adults should be legally valid and that gay and lesbian relationships are morally acceptable.
But attitudes toward transgender people are complex: In polls conducted in 2022 by KFF and the Washington Post and by the Pew Research Center, majorities said they support laws prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in areas such as housing, jobs and schools.
At the same time, both polls found that a majority of Americans think that whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by sex assigned at birth, and many also support restrictive policies aimed at people who are transgender, for example preventing transgender women and girls from participating in sports teams matching their gender identity, along with restrictions on access to medical treatment like puberty blockers and hormone treatment for transgender teens and children.