Barack Obama, the most pro-LGBTI president in US history, kicked off Pride Month a bit early on Tuesday (31 May) with his final proclamation marking the occasion.
Obama paid tribute to the activists who have led the fight for equality and made historic gains such a same-sex marriage which became legal across the US last June.
He states: ‘This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society.
‘They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics.
‘This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.’
Obama is the first sitting US president to personally come out publicly in support of same-sex marriage and in 2014 signed an Executive Order in that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
This year his administration has stepped up on the issues of conversion therapy for minors, equal rights for transgender individuals and workplace protections for LGBTI people.
‘There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.’
Obama also states in the proclamation: ‘I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.’