Tuesday marks the beginning of Pride Month, and LGBTQ groups say they plan on drawing attention this year to the anti-transgender bills making their way through state legislatures across the country.
GOP-backed measures targeting transgender people have picked up steam in recent months, ranging from bills banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports to legislation prohibiting gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.
“Those bills are damaging, those bills are dehumanizing," Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David told The Hill.
By HRC's tally, 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, including at least 35 blocking transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care.
HRC will be using Pride Month "as a platform to really amplify the importance of advocacy and engagement," David said.
“We need to make sure that the community understands and appreciates the current climate that we live in, in the United States, where state legislators are looking to take away legal protections that we have,” David added. “We have members of the trans and non-binary community that are living in a state of fear.”
Cathy Renna, communications director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, said transgender individuals will likely be “front and center” at Pride Month events in response to the state-level efforts.
“In some ways, Pride will be very different, but it will also not be that different in that we are using Pride as a platform to elevate and amplify these issues and get people talking about them,” Renna told The Hill.
“You're going to see a tremendous amount of visibility of both trans youth and adolescents, and also their allies, and their families. That's not something we've seen as much of until really the last few years,” she continued.
Pride Month organizers and LGBTQ groups said Pride Month this year will also reflect the new administration in the White House.
David touted President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege The No Surprises Act: a bill long overdue MORE’s support for the Equality Act, House-passed legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, education and other areas. Biden also reversed former President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE’s ban on most transgender people serving in the military.
“We're looking forward to having an administration that actually celebrates pride, as opposed to an administration that is looking to denounce LGBTQ equality,” he added.
Renna said that compared to last year, the Biden administration will create a “different mood” and a “sense of hope” among Pride participants.
But LGBTQ activists are keeping up the pressure on Biden.
Dan Dimant, a media director for NYC Pride, said the administration needs to make a slate of LGBTQ protections a reality, adding that “the issues for our communities don’t just disappear overnight.”
“Part of what I think activists in our community are really making sure to do is to hold this administration accountable,” Dimant said. “I think a lot of promises have been made. And I think, they're only a few months in, but we want to know that at the end of this term, that there has been follow through on those promises.”
More immediately, many Pride Month organizers are focused on holding either in-person or hybrid events during June after last year's gatherings were largely online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As more cities and states scale back their COVID-19 restrictions, many Pride celebrations are taking on a more familiar look compared with 2020.
In Washington, D.C., organizers with the Capital Pride Alliance are planning to hold a few scaled-back in-person events, as well as several virtual events.
Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, praised DC Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserBowser declares October 2021 'LGBTQ History Month' in DC DC Council member plans to challenge Bowser for mayor Lobbying world MORE’s (D) announcement earlier this month that most capacity limits on bars, restaurants other venues will be lifted by June 11, around the time of Pride weekend.
“We are excited that we will be able to scale up some of our initially planned programs for this June because of the reopening guidelines,” Bos said.
In New York City, organizers announced a digital rally that will raise awareness about violence against the LGBTQ community, along with a smaller version of the city’s annual in-person march. The event will be streamed since there won't be the normal amount of participants.
In Los Angeles, LA Pride will stream a free concert from singer Charli XCX and an event that will include “trans profiles, celebrity shout-outs” and performances, according to its website.
Organizers are offering in-person events as well.
“Because we’ll be having events throughout the month of June and throughout the year, folks should anticipate in-person events, some like we’ve been traditionally known for, but also many innovative, broader reaching, and more diverse experiences,” Gerald Garth, board treasurer for LA Pride, told The Hill.
In San Francisco, Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez said they are skipping virtual events this year after moving Pride Month online in 2020.
“I think what we found we missed with virtual programming solely is just that sense of connection that folks really experience from Pride and a sense of visibility in terms of being around those folks that we see ourselves in,” Lopez said.