On Wednesday, June 28th, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff hosted a reception in partnership with GLAAD to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month and to call leaders in the community to unite in the fight for LGBTQ acceptance and equality.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 15 Winner and transgender advocate Sasha Colby emceed the program, and other speakers included Second Gentleman Emhoff as well as GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. The program featured a performance from Tony award-winning nonbinary actor Alex Newell who sang Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Sam Charney, a young LGBTQ advocate from Colorado who wrote to Vice President Harris about gun violence prevention, introduced the Vice President at the event.
In her remarks, Vice President Harris talked about the importance of celebrating the achievements of LGBTQ Americans, the importance of building coalitions to combat the unprecedented attacks taking place against the community across the country, howthe fight for equality is patriotic, and reaffirmed the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for LGBTQ people and families:
“Pride Month is about celebrating those whose shoulders we stand on for their work to advance civil rights, and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the fight for equal rights. The LGBTQ+ movement is an expression of our love of our country and is rooted in an unwavering belief in the promise of freedom, equality, and justice. As Pride Month comes to a close, let us remember that pride is, and has always been, patriotic. And, as we confront the attacks on LGBTQ+ rights across the country, let us remember that we are in this together.”
Guests were welcomed with music from D.C.‘s Different Drummers, an LGBTQ music organization, and performance by Cheer DC, a volunteer-based cheerleading group focused on elevating acceptance and equality. The event also featured a social media corner where guests participated in Pride photos with "You can’t ban queer joy" signs.
Upon departure, guests were invited to take a copy of the July/August edition of The Advocate, which featured the Vice President on the cover. Guests were also given a Pride, rainbow-colored, handheld, foldable fan with the seal of the Vice President and her signature printed on it.
More than 32 states and territories were represented among attendees. Invited guests included state-based and national LGBTQ leaders from across the local, state, and federal government; politics; entertainment; the private sector; non-profit and advocacy; and other celebrities and social media talent. Among the guests were: Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Rachel Levine, former, Senior Advisor on LGBTQI+ Health Equity Adrian Shanker, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Adrian Wagner, E.P.A. Assistant Deputy Administrator Jon Monger, Dept. of Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Jed Kolko, White House Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Michael Leach, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 winner and event emcee Sasha Colby, performer Alex Newell, Club Q Founding Owner Matthew Haynes, Pulse shooting survivor and Equality Florida Press Secretary Brandon J. Wolf, trans journalists Dawn Ennis and Erin Reed, along with celebrities & influential voices: Ariana DeBose, Bobby Berk, Brooke Eden, Cody Belew, Cody Rigsby, Cory Michael Smith, De’Bronski Jefferson, Dove Cameron, Erin Reed, Frankie Grande, G FLIP, Gina Yashere, Gus Kenworthy, Jazz Jennings, Jeff Hiller, Matt Bernstein, Matty Maggiacomo, Michael D. Cohen, Murray Hill, Rafael Silva, Raquel Willis, Ronen Rubinstein, Samantha Brank, Sasha Colby, Schuyler Bailar, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Vitus Spehar as well as leaders of LGBTQ organizations including PFLAG, LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, The Trevor Project, Family Equality, Equality Florida, Equality Texas and the Transgender Education Network of Texas among others.