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Vice President Kamala Harris walked in the Capital Pride Walk and Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, making history as the first sitting vice president to march in a Pride event.
Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff walked and waved, wearing graphic T-shirts that read “Love is love” and “Love first.” Harris greeted those around her with declarations of “Happy Pride!”
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 12, 2021
During the march, Harris delivered brief remarks to the crowd, advocating for the Senate to pass the Equality Act. The bill, passed by the House of Representatives in February, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We celebrate all of the accomplishments, but we need to pass the Equality Act,” Harris said. “We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need, still, protections around employment and housing. There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.”
The Biden-Harris administration has brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront of its agenda. One of the president’s first executive orders called for an end to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Biden also reversed his predecessor’s ban on transgender people serving in the military and restored transgender health protections. Earlier this month he issued a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, vowing to fight for equality for the LGBTQ community.
Harris’s emphasis on the work that needs to be done reflects the reality that LGBTQ rights are still uncertain in many states. This year has seen a historic number of state legislative attempts to push back on LGBTQ protections, including those covering transgender people. So far, more than 250 such bills have been introduced in state legislatures, and 17 have been enacted into law.
A day after the march, Harris released a video on Instagram emphasizing her dedication to fighting for the LGBTQ community. “LGBTQ Americans, I want you to know: We see you. We hear you,” she wrote in the caption. “President Joe Biden and I will not rest until everyone has equal protection under the law. Happy #Pride.”
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