July 13, 2024

Mayor Muriel Bowser Renames U.S. Capital as ‘The District of Pride,’ Raises LGBTQIA+ Flag at Washington, D.C. City Hall in Historic First for Pride Month Celebration

April 04, 2019 MMB Delivered Opening Remarks at the 2019 We Are EMILY National Conference
April 04, 2019 Mayor Muriel Bowser Delivered Opening Remarks at the 2019 We Are EMILY National Conference

This month, Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, has been renamed the ‘The District of Pride’ in celebration of Pride Month, as announced by Mayor Muriel Bowser in a letter addressed to residents on Friday. The June 2 letter conveyed warm wishes for Pride Month and highlighted the District’s unwavering commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights.

In a historic moment, Mayor Bowser announced the raising of the LGBTQIA+ Pride flag at the John A. Wilson District Building, popularly known as the Wilson Building, for the first time in the nation’s history. The municipal offices and chambers of the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia are housed in the Wilson Building. Originally known as the District Building, it was renamed in 1994 in honor of former Council Chair, John A. Wilson. Completed in 1908, during the administration of the 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, the building is a contributing structure to the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site.

“Happy Pride, DC! We kicked off Pride Month yesterday by raising the LGBTQIA+ Pride flag at the John A. Wilson District Building, also known as the Wilson Building. The historic occasion — the first time a Pride flag is flying outside our City Hall/State House,” wrote Mayor Bowser in the letter titled ‘The District of Pride.’

In her letter, Mayor Bowser expressed immense pride in Washington, D.C.’s longstanding role as a trailblazer in LGBTQIA+ rights. Notably, in 1973, the city voted ahead of the nation to update its human rights law, effectively banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. This landmark legislation, known as the D.C. Human Rights Act, remains one of the most comprehensive in the country. The mayor also highlighted the city’s early adoption of same-sex marriage legalization in 2009, preceding the nationwide ruling in 2015. She emphasized the ongoing efforts to protect and support the LGBTQIA+ community, including investments in housing resources, workforce programs, and the forthcoming hosting of World Pride in 2025.

Embracing the “District of Pride” theme, the Pride flag will proudly wave outside the Wilson Building throughout June, symbolizing inclusivity for residents and visitors. On June 10 and 11, the iconic Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will illuminate in vibrant Pride colors.

Mayor Bowser further unveiled various pride-themed transportation options available to the public, including the Pride Circulator, Pride Streetcar, Pride Capital Bikeshare bikes, and the Pride Metro. Inviting residents to join her in the forthcoming Capital Pride Parade on June 10, Mayor Bowser encouraged active participation and urged individuals to register for the parade.

Meanwhile, during a White House press briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, a lesbian herself, reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to fighting for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Jean-Pierre began the briefing by acknowledging the start of Pride Month and expressing solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community nationwide. She emphasized the administration’s dedication to celebrating the community’s strength, resilience, and bravery while reaffirming their commitment to equality and freedom for all.

Addressing the challenges faced by the community, Jean-Pierre acknowledged that this year has been particularly frightening. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have experienced mistreatment, threats, intimidation, and targeted discrimination based on their identities and relationships. She highlighted that over 600 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been filed in state legislatures this year, with many explicitly targeting transgender youth.

Jean-Pierre emphasized President Biden’s recognition of the courage exhibited by transgender youth and stressed that no one should have to be brave to be themselves. She outlined the administration’s efforts to advance equality and protect civil rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.

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