ALEXANDRIA, Va. – For the month of June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) will honor the vast contributions and important history of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community during LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
“Our Office commemorates the immense contributions of LGBTQ+ members of our community and celebrates the victories they have achieved in pursing equality,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “While enduring intolerable and unjust legal and cultural discrimination, LGBTQ+ individuals have served honorably in every aspect of our Nation’s government, from the military to elected office to the judicial system, including as essential members of EDVA. We recognize their past struggles to receive equal treatment under the law. We further commit ourselves to the continued elimination of discrimination against our LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends, and family, who strengthen our communities through the courage of their example, clearing a path for individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
In 1969, after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City, members of the LGBTQ+ community engaged in several days of protest of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. The following year, activists organized the first annual Pride March on June 28, 1970, a several-thousand-person march from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park commemorating the riots and protesting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. Although not the first demonstration against LGBTQ+ discrimination, that Pride March marked the beginning of the galvanizing force that became a national civil rights movement to demand equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ citizens under the law, ultimately culminating in the creation of the first gay pride parades in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Since 1970, the LGBTQ+ community has celebrated every June as Pride Month and held annual Pride Marches in a growing number of cities, including internationally.
The first presidential proclamation recognizing Pride Month occurred in 1999. On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 13988, directing the heads of every federal agency to take steps to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, both in the federal government itself and in its enforcement of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII. Pride Month 2021 takes place during a time of continued hardship for the LGBTQ+ community, including a rise in violence against transgender individuals, predominately transgender women of color.
This month, EDVA will host several office-wide events, including informational sessions on civil rights and other issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. EDVA’s commemoration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month will also include an office-wide virtual panel discussion with the Honorable Todd M. Hughes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, who became the first openly gay judge on a federal appellate court (2013); the Honorable J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, who became the first openly gay male federal judge (2011); and the Honorable Marisa J. Demeo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, who served as the co-founder of the Justice Department’s Pride organization and its first President (1994).
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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