East Room | The White House 

4:21 P.M. EDT

              THE FIRST LADY:  Thank you, everyone.  Finally!  Finally, we’re all back at the White House together, and doesn’t this feel great?  (Applause.)

Kamala, Doug, Joe, and I are honored to welcome you to this year’s White House Pride celebration.  And, truly, it’s so wonderful — wonderful to be with so many friends.

You know, early in the campaign, Doug, Chasten, and I had the chance to come together for a Pride event.  Do you remember that?

     THE SECOND GENTLEMAN:  I do.  (Laughter.)

     THE FIRST LADY:  Yes!

     THE SECOND GENTLEMAN:  It was in Las Vegas.  I remember.  (Laughter.)

     THE FIRST LADY:  So, it was late on a warm October night in Las Vegas.  And we were all candidates’ spouses at the time, but there was an energy in the air that brought us all together, and we had the chance to get to know one another.  And we made a promise then that our next Pride celebration would be on the South Lawn of the White House.  (Applause.)

And now, here we are once again, but it was just a little too hot and humid out there — (laughter) — to be on the lawn. 

So, every year that we gather here in our nation’s capital is a reminder of just how far we’ve come.  That we have LGBTQ leaders at some of the highest levels of our government.  (Applause.)  That we can gather to celebrate all of you.  That your President and I are proud to stand with you and fight beside you.

But we know that this progress hasn’t reached everyone in the same way.

We know that in places across the country — like Florida, Texas, or Alabama — rights are under attack.  And we know that in small towns and big cities, prejudice and discrimination still lurk.

It shouldn’t take courage to be yourself.  It shouldn’t take courage to go to school and walk down the halls as the person you know you are.

It shouldn’t take courage to hold the hand of the person you love on a bus, to kiss them goodbye on the sidewalk, to share one of the most fundamental and beautiful connections that any one of us can have in this life.

It shouldn’t but, too often and in too many places, it still does.

And in some way, all of you here today have called on that courage.  And you’ve used your voice to say: We will not go back.  (Applause.)  We will not let the progress that we’ve fought for slip away.

Pride is a celebration of the courage it takes to stand up for what’s right, to become the leaders we need, to live an authentic life.

     We recognize it as an act of bravery and beauty, of daring and defiance.  And we look forward to a time when that courage is no longer needed, when all people in all places can feel the freedom and the joy that we feel here today.

What Joe said 10 years ago was right: Love is love.  (Applause.)

Joe — Joe and I are grateful for all of you, and we will never stop working for that future.

So, now, I’m so proud to introduce our next speaker.

I’m always impressed when young people are brave enough to come to the White House and speak in front of so many leaders.  (Laughter.)  But after organizing a walk-out at his high school to protest the “Don’t Say Gay” bill; leading a rally of his peers — (applause); and publicly sharing his own story, I’m pretty sure that speaking at today’s celebration is nothing he can’t handle.  (Laughter.)

Please welcome Javier Gomez!

                               END                 4:26 P.M. EDT

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