First Lady Jill Biden speaks on LBGTQ+ rights at Human Rights Campaign dinner in California

First Lady Jill Biden and her daughter Ashley Biden highlighted the Biden administration’s efforts to fight on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community at the Human Rights Campaign’s 2024 Los Angeles dinner on Saturday evening, March 23.

“Thanks to our president, marriage equality is now a law, he ended the ban on bisexual and gay men donating blood, he made it possible for trans Americans to serve openly and honorably in the military and he’s standing firmly against conversion therapy,” said Jill Biden.

HRC is the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization and selected the first lady as their keynote speaker due to her record of advocating on behalf of the queer community. The private event was hosted at the Fairmont Century Plaza hotel in Century City and attended by approximately 650 people.

Biden used her speech to underscore the importance of reelecting her husband in November noting that “MAGA extremists” are trying to “unwind all the progress we’ve made” on LGBTQ+ rights and equality.

“Just last night we had to fend off more than 50 anti-gay amendments that Republicans tried to force into the government funding bill,” she said. “These were extreme measures aimed directly at this community, measures that would have limited health care, eroded protection for same sex couples and more.”

“And they serve only one purpose: to spread fear.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 50 proposed anti-LGBTQ+ provisions were stripped from the final version of the $1.2 trillion funding package that was approved by the Senate on Saturday morning.

“They want to take our victories away but we won’t let them,” she said. “We will win tomorrow and on the days after, until all the people in all of the places can live freely surrounded by love. I love you. Your President loves you.”

Ashley Biden also referenced ongoing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community during her speech, including the recent death of transgender teen Next Benedict who was fatally attacked in a school bathroom in Oklahoma.

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“We know it’s not just Next, LGBTQ students deserve to feel safe at school and no one should have to endure violence just because of who they are,” she said. “My parents know that.”

Last October, President Biden and the First Lady, spoke at HRC’s national dinner in Washington, D.C, which marked the president’s fourth time keynoting the event.

The first lady is in town for a four-day fundraising and speaking swing through Los Angeles and Palm Springs. On Friday, she attended a campaign reception in Hancock Park and on Monday she is scheduled to deliver a speech on the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research at the Getty Center.

Earlier on Saturday, Biden delivered a speech to around 125 people at a private fundraiser in the Rancho Mirage home of James Costos and Michael Smith.

Will Rollins, the Democratic nominee for California’s 41st Congressional District, introduced the first lady and thanked her for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Thanks to the work that the first lady and the president have put in throughout their careers, America is now a place where you can serve the country you love, regardless of who you love,” said Rollins, “So thank you, Dr. Biden.”

During the ten minute address Biden hit upon many of the same points she shared at Friday evening’s L.A. campaign reception. This includes the strength of her relationship with Joe Biden, his major accomplishments as President and the urgency of reelecting him in November.

“These are tumultuous times for the world — Russia’s brutal campaign in Ukraine, war in the Middle East — and they require the steadiness and the expertise of a tested, proven leader like my husband,” she said.

“With his judgment and his experience and his relationship with leaders across the globe, Joe isn’t just the right person for the job,” she continued. “He’s the only person for the job.”

 

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