Barack Obama delivered a heartfelt message to LGBTQ+ people on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, calling it "one of America's defining victories for civil rights".
In a video message recorded for Pride Live, he said:
We’re almost 51 years since the night when the patrons at the Stonewall Inn stood up for their rights and set off one of America’s defining victories for civil rights. Because of the movement they sparked and the decades of work that followed, marriage equality became the law of the land five years ago and just this month the Supreme Court ruled that employers can no longer discriminate against LGBTQ workers.
All that progress is worth celebrating and reflecting on. The struggle and triumph for LGBTQ rights shows how protests and politics go hand in hand, how we’ve got to both shine a light on injustice and translate those aspirations into specific laws and institutional practices.
The US Supreme Court declared marriage equality to be a legal requirement across all fifty states on 26 June 2015.
Stonewall Day has been celebrated since 2018 in honour of the 1969 Stonewall riots, a crucial moment in LGBTQ history.
Speakers and performers at this year's online event include Ellen DeGeneres, Lilly Wachowski, Cynthia Erivo, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
Trans advocate and model Geena Rocero is hosting the events. Event organisers have also made it clear that Black Lives Matter will form a central part of the commemoration, particularly given the disproportionate rates of violence committed against black trans women.
President of Pride Live, Dr Yvette Burton, said:
From Marsha P. Johnson’s revolution at Stonewall, to the recent murders of Dominique Fells and Riah Milton, the protection of trans people of color continues to be the litmus test of freedom and equal opportunities.
Policies such as the Trump administration’s reversed protections for transgender people in the U.S. health care system, adds the disproportionate effect of fatal violence, impacted by the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia across communities and families
Thousands of people took to the streets of New York, LA and Chicago in support of Black Trans Lives Matter after Trump's "horrific" reversal of Obama-era legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against trans people when providing healthcare.
Obama's speech, will be broadcast in full by Logo and GLAAD, serves as a reminder that pride is just as much about enacting positive change as it is about celebration.