On a day when most Americans were celebrating Easter, President Joe Biden decided to set the internet ablaze with a statement proclaiming March 31, 2024 as Transgender Day of Visibility. Republicans used it as an opportunity to continue their offensive against the President, but several Democrats – including Sen. Raphael Warnock – had his back. 

What Is International Transgender Day of Visibility?

International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the many challenges the transgender community faces daily – as well as their contributions to the society we live in today. 

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The event was created by Rachel Crandall Crocker and first held on March 31, 2009. It has been celebrated on March 31 every year since, and is now spearheaded by the U.S.-based youth advocacy organization Trans Student Educational Resources. 

Joe Biden’s Easter Sunday Proclamation

On Easter Sunday, Joe Biden released a statement touting his efforts in the transgender community over his past four years in office. He described Transgender Americans as ‘part of the fabric of our nation’ and had a simple message for the community: 

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

“Today, we send a message to all transgender Americans:  You are loved.  You are heard.  You are understood.  You belong.  You are America, and my entire Administration and I have your back,” he wrote – urging America to ‘lift up the lives’ of Transgenders everywhere. 

Made Similar Proclamation In Years Past

Biden’s proclamation this past Sunday is nearly identical to the one he has made every year since taking office in 2021. In fact, he became the first President to recognize March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility—something Trump never did. 

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“I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people,” he wrote in last year’s statement.

Speaker Mike Johnson Takes Aim At Biden

Mike Johnson (R-LA), who has represented Louisiana’s 4th congressional district since 2017 and is currently serving as the 56th Speaker of the House, took to X on Saturday (March 30) to criticize Biden’s proclamation. 

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Speaker Mike Johnson

“The Biden White House has betrayed the central tenet of Easter — which is the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he wrote. “Banning sacred truth and tradition—while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as ‘Transgender Day’ is outrageous and abhorrent. The American people are taking note.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock Claps Back On CNN

In an interview with Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday (March 31), Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) clapped back at the Speaker of the House – schooling Johnson on faith over his opposition to Biden’s proclamation. 

Source: Wikimedia/Georgia Peanut Commission

“Apparently, the speaker finds trans people abhorrent. I think he ought to think about that,” Warnock said. “As you said, March 31st has been a day to lift up transgender people who endure violence and bigotry.” 

Calls Johnson’s Comment The ‘Opposite of the Christian Faith’

Bash and Warnock both alluded to the fact that Transgender Day of Visibility has been celebrated on March 31 for 15 consecutive years, whereas the date for Easter changes every year. Warnock called it ‘another instance of folks who do not know how to lead us, trying to divide us.’

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“And this is the opposite of the Christian faith,” he added. “Jesus centered to marginalize. He centered the poor. And in a moment like this, we need voices, particularly voices of faith, who would use our faith not as a weapon to beat other people down but as a bridge to bring all of us together.”

Donald Trump Calls On White House To Issue Apology

Mike Johnson wasn’t the only Republican to voice his displeasure with Biden’s proclamation on Easter Sunday. On March 30, Karoline Leavitt (National Press Secretary) and the Trump campaign joined Johnson in his criticism. 

Source: Wikimedia/Official White House Photo

“We call on Joe Biden’s failing campaign and White House to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe tomorrow is for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Leavitt wrote in a statement on behalf of Trump. 

Also Criticizes Biden For 2024 Easter Egg Roll Guidelines

The Trump campaign also took aim at the guidelines for this year’s 2024 White House Easter Egg Roll – an American tradition dating back to 1878. This year’s event will bring more than 40,000 people together – including thousands of military families, caregivers, and survivors. 

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Trump, along with several other Republicans, claimed that the guidelines for this year’s Easter Art Event prohibit religious-themed designs. “Sadly, these are just two more examples of the Biden Administration’s years-long assault on the Christian faith,” Trump’s campaign wrote. 

American Egg Board Responds

The American Egg Board, which was created by Congress in 1976 and focuses on marketing and promotion of eggs for human consumption, partners with the White House every year for their Easter festivities. 

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“The American Egg Board has been a supporter of the White House Easter Egg Roll for over 45 years and the guideline language referenced in recent news reports has consistently applied to the board since its founding, across administrations,” Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board, said in a statement.

Caitlyn Jenner ‘Absolutely Disgusted’ At Biden

Caitlyn Jenner, one of the most famous transgenders in the world, also took to X to add to the flurry of backlash sent Biden’s way last weekend. She made it known that there was only room for one holiday celebration on March 31, 2024. 

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“I am absolutely disgusted that Joe Biden has declared the most Holy of Holy days – a self proclaimed devout Catholic – as Transgender Day of Visibility,” she wrote. “The only thing you should be declaring on this day is ‘HE is Risen.’”

White House Spokesperson Defends Biden

Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the White House, took a moment to defend Biden’s support of the transgender community. He noted that Biden is a ‘Christian who celebrates Easter with family.’ 

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“President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American,” he wrote in a statement. “Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful, and dishonest rhetoric. President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.”

White House Press Secretary Speaks Out

Biden also received support from his White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre – who called Republicans out for their ‘cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric’ towards Biden’s Easter Sunday proclamation. 

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

She confirmed that the Biden Administration was ‘surprised’ by the amount of misinformation coming from Republicans. Still, she thought it was ‘unsurprising that politicians are seeking to divide’ – something they seem to do quite often.