By Richard Hack
Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at Pride Live’s Stonewall Day last Friday. The previously unannounced politician has made headlines for his limited exposure during the early months of campaigning.
“Pride is particularly poignant this year,” Biden said, with his wife Jill by his side. “Even as LGBTQ rights continues to be attacked, the Supreme Court has affirmed protections for LGBTQ+ people against employment discrimination, and even as the lives of trans individuals–especially Black trans women–are under threat, we’re reminded that Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera helped bring life to the movement.” In a Pride month dominated by a viral pandemic that has crippled the American economy and an electrifying social justice movement seeking to address systemic racism and police brutality, “we are reminded of those courageous individuals who first marched decades ago,” Biden said, adding, “It has renewed our hope.”
Former President Barack Obama added: “The struggle and triumph for LGBTQ rights shows how protest 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. Whether protecting against healthcare discrimination, combating violence against trans women of color, or supporting causes of racial justice, I hope you know that your voice can make an enormous difference,” he said. “I hope you all understand what Edie Windsor, Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin all knew, that progress doesn’t happen on its own. It happens because we stand up, speak out and demand change.”
It was left to pop star Taylor Swift to draw attention to the GoFundMe page that has been established to collect money to help keep the historic Stonewall Inn from going out of business during the COVID-19 crisis. “Stonewall Inn has been such a symbol of rebellion in the face of oppression, and such a safe place for people,” Swift said. The bar has also set up a GoFundMe page, explaining, “Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community… The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support. The road to recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic will be long and we need to continue to safeguard this vital piece of living history for the LGBTQ community.”