A Transgender Holiday Fell on Easter. Republicans Lashed Out at Biden.


The Republican outrage machine kicked into gear over Easter weekend after President Biden noted that Sunday was being celebrated for more than one reason.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is observed every year on March 31. Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox.

This year, for the second time since Transgender Day of Visibility was established 15 years ago, and the last time until 2086, the two happened to coincide. President Biden publicly honored both of them, as he has done every year since he took office in 2021.

Republicans responded with a flurry of statements declaring that Mr. Biden had besmirched Christianity — the latest manifestation of anger that, over the past few years, has often flared up after public acknowledgments of transgender people.

Mr. Biden released a proclamation on Friday to “honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our nation’s commitment to forming a more perfect union — where all people are created equal and treated equally throughout their lives.”

On Sunday, Mr. Biden said that “Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s resurrection.”

Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for former President Donald J. Trump, said Mr. Biden should apologize to people who believed Sunday was “for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The House speaker, Mike Johnson, said Mr. Biden had “betrayed the central tenet of Easter.” Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee called his proclamation “an intentional attack on religion.”

Many Republicans said falsely that Mr. Biden had declared Sunday as the transgender holiday, though the day has been observed for years.

Their comments drew sharp pushback from Democrats, including Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, a Baptist pastor. “Jesus centered the marginalized. He centered the poor,” Mr. Warnock said on CNN on Sunday. “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.”

Ms. Leavitt and Mr. Johnson, among others, also claimed that Mr. Biden was leveling another attack on Christianity by banning religious designs from an Easter egg decorating contest. The contest, however, has banned such designs under presidents of both parties.

“As a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American,” Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said in a statement.

Mr. Bates added: “Sadly, it’s unsurprising politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric.”

Criticism of transgender people has become a central component of Republican cultural rhetoric and legislation. Many conservatives have treated recognition of or appearances by transgender people as an affront, including boycotting Bud Light after the company sent beer to a transgender influencer for promotion.

Mr. Biden’s proclamation also condemned the array of laws that Republican-led states have passed, restricting transgender people’s use of public bathrooms, participation in sports, access to transition care and more.



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