On Friday, President Obama issued his annual proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, but for the first time, his message included support for marriage equality among other accomplishments of his office. In an accompanying video, Obama spoke of celebrating unsung heroes who stand up for LGBT rights as part of their daily lives:
OBAMA: I’ve often said that the true genius of America is that America can change. We can pass laws to right wrongs. We can soften hardened attitudes. Our union can be made more perfect. But here’s the thing: change never happens on its own. Change happens because ordinary people, countless unsung heroes of our American story, stand up and demand it.
The story of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is no different. As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month, we remember the activists and advocates who refused to be treated like second-class citizens — people like Jeanne Manford and Harvey Milk, who marched and protested and believed in a better future.
But we also remember the unsung heroes, the millions of LGBT Americans for whom everyday acts required extraordinary courage — the young people who came out as gay or transgender to their parents not knowing what to expect, the two moms or two dads who went to an open house or PTA meeting not knowing how they’d be received, the couple that got married even if their bosses or neighbors wouldn’t approve, at least not right away. Most of these heroes didn’t set out to make history, but that’s exactly what they did.