whitehouseobama.jpgTo be honest, presidential proclamations don’t really mean much one way or another except to the people affected or ignored. And there’s the rub.

If a president does or does not proclaim LGBT pride month, then you know whether us LGBT folks have a friend or foe in the White House.

So it’s reassuring that President Obama issued a proclamation for LGBT pride month:

“Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The document goes on to list achievements advancing LGBT civil rights (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, etc.), but there are two of particular interest for LGBT health.

The first is LGBT hospital visitation rights, which went into effect this January. I can’t underscore enough the importance of that victory.

The second is the continuing fight against HIV/AIDS:

“This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.”
It’s no small thing for the president to include HIV/AIDS in his LGBT pride month proclamation. Be cynical if you want to be on the details, but I appreciate the inclusion.

The president understands HIV/AIDS is an integral part of LGBT civil rights. I wish that I could say the same thing of some LGBT civil rights groups and some LGBT people.

From where I sit, it too often feels that some LGBTs don’t understand the HIV/AIDS connection. So thanks, Mr. President.