KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Each year, National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex or LGBTQI+ Pride Month is observed and celebrated from June 1-30. Support for the LGBTQI+ community is expressed both nationally and here in East Tennessee.
The White House posted President Joe Biden’s presidential proclamation for Pride Month 2022 this week, with the President calling on the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQI+ community and celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
“This month, we remind the LGBTQI+ community that they are loved and cherished,” part of the presidential proclamation states. “My Administration sees you for who you are — deserving of dignity, respect, and support. As I said in my State of the Union Address — especially to our younger transgender Americans — I will always have your back as your President so that you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential. Today and every day, my Administration stands with every LGBTQI+ American in the ongoing struggle against intolerance, discrimination, and injustice. We condemn the dangerous State laws and bills that target LGBTQI+ youth. And we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping LGBTQI+ people in America and around the world live free from violence.”
President Biden also states in his proclamation that there is more work to be done and he continues to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act, “which will enshrine long overdue civil rights protections and build a better future for all LGBTQI+ Americans. We must also fight for LGBTQI+ seniors so that they can age with dignity. And we must confront the disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment in the LGBTQI+ community.
“This month, we honor the resilience of LGBTQI+ people, who are fighting to live authentically and freely. We reaffirm our belief that LGBTQI+ rights are human rights. And we recommit to delivering protections, safety, and equality to LGBTQI+ families so that everyone can realize the full promise of America.”
The City of Knoxville says it is committed to the equal rights and equal treatment of LGBTQI+ residents, workers and visitors. The city also employs a LGBT Liaison in the mayor’s office who works with LGBTQI+ groups and individuals in order to address concerns and share outreach information as well as resources. The Knoxville Police Department also has a similar liaison position within the department in order to strengthen the relationship between police and community.
“We aim to create a safe, accountable, inclusive and welcoming community so all Knoxville residents feel represented, respected and appreciated,” the city states on its LGBTQI+ web page.
In April 2012, the city expanded its non-discrimination employment policies to include disability, ethnic origin, gender identity and sexual orientation. Former Mayor Madeline Rogero brought the motion to the city council and said she wanted to help ensure that city government “is a place where everyone is valued and respected.”
The amended policy went into effect later that spring.
There will be several events in East Tennessee celebrating Pride Month as well as later on in the fall to celebrate Pride Fest 2022.