President Biden on Monday marked National Coming Out Day — a holiday encouraging LGBTQ people to be open about their sexuality — by condemning Republican state legislatures for bills he says unfairly discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character.
“From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of they are or who they love,” he said.
The Equality Act is a bill that would expand federal protections for members of the LGBTQ community by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Mr. Biden‘s remarks come at a time when hundreds of bills affecting the LGBTQ community have been filed or passed in state legislatures across the country.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ political lobbying group, declared earlier that 2021 is on track to “become the worst year for state legislative attacks against LGBTQ people in history.”
At least eight bills aimed at LGBTQ people were signed into law and another 10 are awaiting governors’ signatures, the HRC said.
The group highlighted four states passing laws that ban transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem this year signed a religious freedom bill that critics say could lead to discrimination against LGBTQ people.
However, some GOP governors have vetoed bills that were opposed by the LGBTQ community.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in April nixed a bill that would have required parental notification of any mention of LGBTQ people in school curriculums. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed a ban on transgender athletes.
National Coming Out Day started in 1988 to mark the second annual march in Washington for LGBTQ rights. At the time, it was the largest LGBTQ march in U.S. history.
Mr. Biden urged LGBTQ people who are considering coming out to do so.
“To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you,” he said. “My administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity and respect you deserve.”