Barack Obama, 58, appeared on Pride Live’s third annual Stonewall Day Celebration, held virtually on Friday, June 26. The Chicago native appeared on the Pride Month special, reflecting on some of the historic progress made for the rights of the LGBTQ community. “We’re almost 51 years when patrons of the night when patrons of the Stonewall Inn stood up for their rights,” he began his virtual address. “Because of the movement they sparked — and the decades of work that followed — marriage equality became the law of the land five years ago,” he said.
“And just this month, the Supreme Court ruled that employers than no longer discriminate against LGBTQ employers…the struggle shows how protest and politics go hand in hand,” Obama added, encouraging all of us to stand up and use our voices. “I hope you know that your voice can make an enormous difference…progress doesn’t happen on it’s own it happens because we stand up, speak out, and demand change. Make sure you’re registered vote,” he urged.
The former President was confirmed to appear on the event in a June 23 announcement, alongside A-Listers like Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, and designer Donatella Versace. The event, which was co-presented by Pride Media, WarnerMedia and Nasdaq, also served as a fundraiser for LGBTQ organizations like Brave Space Alliance, Trans LifeLife, TransLatin@Coalition and the Ally Coalition.
Following the Supreme Court’s ban of discrimination towards transgender and gay workers, Barack celebrated with a throwback photo of The White House illuminated in the rainbow colors of the pride flag from 2015, when he was still in the Oval Office. “Today reminds us that progress might be slow. It might take decades. But no matter what things might look like today, it’s always possible. Happy Pride month, everybody,” he wrote in his June 15 tweet. The photo happened to be from another historical day, which was when the SCOTUS ruled that same-sex marriages would be legalized across America.
Stonewall Day commemorates NYC’s 1969 Stonewall Riots, which were a demonstration by the LGBTQ community to fight oppression and seek equal rights. Pride Live’s third-annual event was hosted by transgender model Geena Rocero, Pride Live board president Dr. Yvette C. Burton confirmed. “Being an LGBTQ BIPOC is a fundamentally different experience,” Geena, who hails from the Philippines, wrote in an Instagram post.
“In the API community, we face distinct pressures from our (often conservative) immigrant parents; we are sometimes reduced to less-worthy and attractive partners (“no Asians”), and being who we are is still illegal and publicly chastised in several Asian countries,” she continued. “That’s why it’s essential that we create a supportive, informed, and equipped space for LGBTQ individuals to transition happily and successfully,” she also wrote.