Kamala Harris has made history as the first sitting Vice President of the United States to march in a Pride Event.
The ground-breaking politician was joined by her husband, Second Gentlemen Doug Emhoff, as they marched alongside the LGBT community and their allies in this year’s Capital Pride event.
Held in Washington D.C., the event saw rainbow-coloured crowds flood the streets of the US capital, as attendees were eager to make up for last year’s event (which had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Though she wasn’t at the event for long, having only walked “for about a block”, the Vice President and her husband were all smiles as they spoke with crowd-goers while sporting “love is love” and “love first” T-shirts, respectively.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 12, 2021
“Happy Pride!” Harris was heard exclaiming amidst cheers from those gathered. The crowd culminated at a rally in Freedom Plaza, approximately one block away from The Ellipse, south of The White House.
While at the site, Harris spoke of the Biden administration’s approach to supporting LGBTQ+ rights and the importance of passing an LGBT rights bill currently making its way through the Senate.
“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,” Harris said in her speech.
— Megan (@MReenock) June 13, 2021
The bill in question, the Equality Act, grants “civil rights protections” for America’s LGBTQ+ community.
If the bill were to be passed in the Senate, “sexual orientation and gender identity” would be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This would mean that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be used as the root cause for discriminatory behaviour regarding employment, housing etc.
However, the reason why it has been brought into the mainstream media is because of an ongoing debate being held “over women’s and girls’ sports”.
Long story short, Republicans are worried that the bill’s passing will make it easier for trans women to participate in traditionally girls and women-only sports.
US Senator and Republican Representative for Mississippi, Cindy Hyde-Smith, is one of the conservative voices speaking out against the bill, citing that it would undermine the progress women have made regarding the Civil Rights Act.
“…This is the problem created by the [Equality] Act when it substitutes the vague and open-ended term ‘gender identity’ for the word ‘sex’ … Allowing male-bodied athletes to compete against females in sports like basketball would totally undermine girls’ sports,” Hyde-Smith said.
While the bill continues to be fought over, the country’s youth and LGBT community are fighting back.
When testifying before the Senate, “16-year-old transgender girl”, Stella Keating, had this to say: “I can tell you that the majority of transgender people who join sports just want to hang out with their friends … And that’s basically it.”