Watch: Kamala Harris Becomes First Sitting VP to March at Pride

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday June 14, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris surprised Pride goers in Washington, D.C., when she appeared alongside her husband, Doug Emhoff, in the June 12 Capital Pride Walk & Rally, People reports.

Harris' participation in the Pride event "had not been on the vice president's public schedule," according to Axios.

As NBC Washington described, Harris wore a "Love is Love" T-shirt for the occasion, while Second Gentleman Emhoff's attire was a T-shirt "with rainbow lettering."

Harris also addressed the crowd, calling for passage of the Equality Act, which would provide federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in housing, credit, education, and other areas of everyday life. Although the Equality Act has passed the House, which is held by Democrats, it has not moved forward in the evenly-divided Senate.

Harris also showed support for "our transgender community and our youth," who have been hit hard by a spate of so-called "Culture War" legislation in statehouses around the country, much of which targeting anti-trans legislation for children.

That same day, Harris commemorated the 49 lives lost in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting. June 12 was the fifth anniversary of the shooting, which claimed the lives of mostly LGBTQ and Latinx club goers over a three-hour period.

On June 13, Harris tweeted a video in which she wished Americans a happy Pride and took stock of the progress LGTBQ Americans have made in recent years, including marriage equality. Even before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that abolished anti-marriage laws around the country, the state of California restored marriage equality, and Harris — the state's attorney general at the time — "officiated the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier," whose court case "paved the way" for the restoration of marriage equality in California, which had been stripped away through a ballot initiative six months after taking effect in 2008.

Harris also made mention — albeit indirectly — of the work President Joe Biden's administration has done to restore LGBTQ equality. "LGBTQ Americans proudly serve in our military and every level of government," said Harris, noting facts that are true, in part, because the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era ban on transgender troops. Biden has also appointed a high number of LGBTQ individuals to posts in the government — nearly 14% of the approximately 1,500 appointees the Biden administration has installed so far.

Elsewhere in that video, however, Harris also reiterated the observation that "there is still work to be done to achieve full equality" for LGBTQ Americans and their families.

"I want you to know: We see you. We hear you," she continued. "And the president and I will not rest until everyone has equal protection under the law."

Harris' participation in the Pride walk marked the first time a sitting vice president has walked in a Pride event.

Watch the Channel 4 news clip below:

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.