Statements by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and HHS Principals on Pride Month
Cross-posted from: HHS Newsroom
HHS raised the Progress Pride Flag outside its headquarters building today to commemorate Pride Month.
[On June 1, 2023], after raising the Progress Pride Flag outside of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) headquarters building, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other HHS leaders from across the Department released the following statements to celebrate Pride Month:
Xavier Becerra – Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
“Every year, during Pride Month, we honor and celebrate the many ways our family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and fellow Americans in the LGBTQI+ community contribute to the health and wellbeing of our great nation. Today and every day, the Department works to ensure that every American has access to health care – including gender-affirming care – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We stand with and support Americans who are targeted because of their gender identity and are committed to protecting them. We also stand with and support their parents, caretakers, and families. We will continue to fight on behalf of all Americans to ensure they have access to the care and support they need.
“To all our LGBTQI+ colleagues, in HHS and across the health and human services field, thank you for your tireless work towards improving the lives of those in need. We are honored to lead the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to put the health and human services of all Americans above the hateful and harmful beliefs of a narrow-minded few.”
Andrea Palm – Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
“During Pride Month, we honor the contributions of LGBTQI+ Americans across the country. They have and continue to fight to make our society more inclusive, welcoming, and supportive. This month and every month, we will work to ensure all our programs and services are equitable and inclusive, and all our LGBTQI+ colleagues know they are valued.
“Pride is a reminder that until everyone enjoys the full promise of equity, dignity, protection, and freedom, our work is not finished. I am proud to be part of our Administration-wide effort to protect LGBTQI+ Americans from discrimination in health care, including those who need vital behavioral health support.”
January Contreras – Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
“At ACF, throughout June, we proudly celebrate LGBTQI+ children, youth, and families. Our work to promote the well-being of these and all children and families continues year-round. In light of alarming discriminatory state laws over the past year targeting transgender children, we reaffirm our commitment to promote the rights and safety of all LGBTQI+ people. To the parents who support your transgender children, we say thank you for loving and affirming your children, and we are with you.”
Alison Barkoff – Acting Administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging (ACL)
“Pride Month is a time to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQI+ community - which includes people of all ages and abilities. No one should be denied access to the services and supports they need to thrive in the community because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. At ACL, we are committed to advancing a person-centered approach that affirms the unique identities, culture, and strengths of each person our programs serve.”
Dr. Renee Wegrzyn - Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)
"In the spirit of Pride Month, we celebrate the vibrant diversity that enriches our society and acknowledge the importance of inclusion as a catalyst for achieving better health outcomes for all Americans. Embracing diverse perspectives and experiences in healthcare is essential to unlocking innovative solutions and fostering a healthier nation. This Pride month, let us recognize that true progress in health equity requires us to stand together, united by compassion and a commitment to inclusivity. Let us champion diversity as a wellspring of innovation, enabling us to break barriers, shatter stigmas, and build a future where every American can thrive in good health and authentic self-expression. Together, we can create a society where diversity and wellness go hand in hand, for the betterment of all."
Dawn O’Connell – Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
“At ASPR we value our close partnership with the LGBTQI+ community and always promote inclusion and equity in our response efforts. Pride month is a reminder to thank all our LGBTQI+ partners across the country whose strength and resilience make us better prepared for whatever comes next.”
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky – Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“The LGBTQI+ community is strong, committed, and engaged in the process of advancing health, research, and equity. Despite adversity – historically and in the present day – CDC works in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community to address the systemic inequalities, social marginalization, and discrimination that stand in opposition to our shared goals.”
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure – Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
“Health care is a basic human right. This Pride Month - and all year long - CMS is proud to continue defending that right for the LGBTQI+ community. Working alongside community partners, it’s our mission to break down barriers to health care, bridge disparities, and deliver high-quality health care for LGBTQI+ people who rely on coverage through Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, and the Marketplaces.”
Robert M. Califf, M.D. – Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
“This year, Pride Month comes on the heels of the FDA’s final science-driven recommendations for individual risk assessments for blood donation, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender. This action represents a significant milestone for the agency and the LGBTQI+ community and potentially expands the number of people eligible to donate blood while maintaining the safety of the blood supply. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community during a time when human rights for this community are under attack with record numbers of bills pending in state legislatures that target the rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive people. We’ll be proudly flying the Progressive Pride Flag at the FDA headquarters and many other FDA locations.”
Roselyn Tso – Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS)
“As we celebrate Pride Month in June, the Indian Health Service recognizes the diversity of our patients and staff and remains committed to equal access to health care services for all. This consists of creating a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for everyone, and that includes our treasured Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Intersex individuals and their families.”
Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon – Assistant Secretary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
“SAMHSA stands with the LGBTQI+ community, during Pride Month and throughout the year. We know that LGBTQI+ Americans, particularly our nation’s LGBTQI+ youth, continue to face stigma, bullying and harassment, and too often rejection and lack of support which can lead to depression, anxiety, substance use and thoughts of suicide. Our commitment to increasing family, school and community support as well as ensuring equitable access to quality care remains steadfast as we continue to make strides in increasing resources for LGBTQI+ people.”
Melanie Fontes Rainer – Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
“Pride is a time to celebrate our LGBTQI+ communities and celebrate their diversity and beauty nationwide. This year’s Pride happens at a time when there is a constant stream of politicians around the country who are targeting communities and creating an environment of hate and jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of people, families, and our medical providers. The Biden-Harris Administration supports youth, everywhere no matter who they are, in obtaining health care, and stands against the bullying of kids and intimidating and threatening of their families and medical providers. To our LGBTQI+ siblings, communities, and advocates, we see you and we stand with you. The HHS Office for Civil Rights is committed to ensuring people across the country can access health and human services free of discrimination, period. This Pride month, let’s raise our flags high and recommit ourselves to working for a more just and equitable America for all.”
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D. – Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
“Inadequate data about sexual orientation and gender identity impedes our understanding of the unique health disparities experienced by sexual and gender minority populations. During this Pride Month, NIH reaffirms our commitment to close this knowledge gap and advance research to improve health outcomes for all LGBTQI+ Americans.”
Admiral Rachel Levine – Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)
“This summer of Pride is an opportunity to catalyze change towards health equity for the LGBTQI+ community. Change locally, change for our States and change across the nation, will take all of us working together. Healthy People 2030 defines health equity as the attainment of the highest levels of health for all people. I firmly believe that we have not made progress unless we all make progress. I encourage LGBTQI+ individuals to take action for their health this Pride season by quitting smoking, getting an HIV test, and/or a routine cancer screening, and if you’re not yet vaccinated for MPOX, please get vaccinated.”
Dr. Vivek Murthy – U.S. Surgeon General
“Pride Month is a celebration of authenticity, love, and commitment to equality. But far too many are in a space where they don’t feel acknowledged and supported for who they are. On this first day of Pride Month, I want LGBTQI+ youth to know they matter and they belong. We will never stop working to ensure all young people have the support and care necessary to thrive.”
Loyce Pace – Assistant Secretary for the Office of Global Affairs (OGA)
“During Pride Month and every month, we will continue working to ensure everyone, in the United States and through our global diplomatic engagements, can access the quality health care they need without fear of stigma and discrimination.”
Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A. – Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
“Pride Month is an opportunity to remember that our differences are vital to who we are as individuals and a society. It’s also crucial to our mission at AHRQ. Regardless of economic status, religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, everyone deserves to receive safe, high-value, quality health care services. When we embrace that approach, we’re best able to respond to the health care needs of LGBTQI+ people, and their family members, friends, and loved ones.”
Carole Johnson – Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Pride Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQI+ community and ensure that we continue to work together to help people to thrive. Through HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, HRSA-supported community health centers, and other programs, we’ve made important strides in expanding access to health care and are committed to delivering the care all individuals need. HRSA and the Biden-Harris Administration will always stand with the LGBTQI+ community.”
Micky Tripathi, Ph.D. – National Coordinator for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
“Now, perhaps more than ever, representation is critical to the LGBTQI+ community. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT believes that all people deserve excellent health care, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression, so we continue our work supporting health equity for the LGBTQI+ community through efforts to standardize the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data.”
The Progress Pride Flag is a variation of the Rainbow Pride Flag that includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQI+ communities of color, along with the pink, light blue, and white stripes to represent the transgender community. The additional colors were added in a chevron shape to represent forward movement and to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression”.
If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of gender identity or disability in seeking to access gender-affirming care, you can visit HHS' Office for Civil Rights complaint portal to file a complaint online.