Barack Obama celebrates five years of marriage equality and pays tribute to the LGBT+ community in stirring Pride address

Lily Wakefield June 26, 2020
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Barack Obama Pride

Former US president Barack Obama addressed the LGBT+ community, while current president Donald Trump has failed to even acknowledge Pride month. (Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty)

Former US president Barack Obama has shared a Pride message with the LGBT+ community, marking 51 years since the Stonewall uprising.

Pride Live will be running its third annual Stonewall Day programme, which will this year be raising funds for LGBT+ organisations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s celebration also marks five years since marriage equality was legalised in the United States.

In a teaser of his taped Stonewall Day speech released by Pride Live, Barack Obama 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.

“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.”

LGBT+ Pride month dates back to the Stonewall uprising in June, 1969, when around 200 queer folk, among them trans women, lesbians, gay men, drag queens and queer youths, largely of colour, had gathered in the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City.

At the time, police in New York were cracking down on the city’s queer venues, but that night the LGBT+ community fought back, fuelling the queer rights movement we know today.

Current US president Donald Trump has failed to even acknowledge Pride Month. 

Taylor Swift and Hayley Kiyoko join Barack Obama on Stonewall Day 2020.

Pride Live’s star-studded virtual Stonewall Day line-up on Friday (June 26) includes Taylor Swift, Andy Cohen, Chelsea Clinton, Hayley Kiyoko, Demi Lovato and Barack Obama himself.

Although the event will be celebratory, organisers are aware that the ongoing anti-racism protests and the coronavirus pandemic mark a difficult time for the LGBT+ community.

Dr Yvette C Burton, the president of the Pride Live board of directors, told Huffington Post: “COVID-19, and the recent events that have placed a national and global spotlight on the need for fair and equal treatment for all people, has impacted so many around the world and the LGBTQ+ community has not been immune.”

On raising money for LGBT+ organisations affected by coronavirus, she added: “Our hopes are Stonewall Day can assist our beneficiaries in continuing their work and service to the community.”

The Pride Live Stonewall Day event will be livestreamed from 1pm Eastern Time on Friday, June 26.

More: Andy Cohen, Barack Obama, chelsea clinton, demi lovato, hayley kiyoko, marriage equality, Pride Live, Pride month, Stonewall Day, taylor swift

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