The Biden administration said transgender activist Rose Montoya will not be invited back to the White House following her decision to go topless during the Pride Month event on the South Lawn.
Asked about Montoya’s behavior, a White House spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement it was “inappropriate and disrespectful for any event at the White House.”
The spokesperson said that her actions were “not reflective of the event we hosted to celebrate LGBTQI+ families or the other hundreds of guests who were in attendance” and that “Individuals in the video will not be invited to future events.”
On Saturday afternoon, President Joe Biden welcomed hundreds of guests to a picnic on the South Lawn as part of a celebration of Pride Month and the administration’s support for the LGBTQ+ community amid a flurry of anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced and passed across the country at the state level.
Among the attendees was Montoya, a transgender rights activist who rose to prominence in 2021 for her educational social media content about transgender issues. On Monday, Montoya posted a video to her Instagram and TikTok accounts, recapping the White House picnic. One of the clips showed Montoya holding her bare breasts on the South Lawn.
Montoya’s video drew fierce backlash from conservatives online, but Montoya’s decision to go topless also upset some supporters of LGBTQ+ rights.
“[Y]our feckless topless stunt has set us back further! Those of us who have been clawing and fighting for equality will not forgive you,” one Instagram user commented under the video.
Another user told Montoya that while they support her and everything that she stands for, “Exposing your breasts at this event did not help the cause.”
“It took focus from what this event was meant to be and focused it right on to you,” the user wrote. “I’m sorry to say this to you as I do really support you and admire you. As part of the LGBTQI+ community, I am saddened that this only added fuel for the Conservatives to spread the lies that we are nothing more than sexual deviants.”
Montoya defended her behavior in a follow-up video, arguing that going topless in Washington, D.C., is legal and accusing conservatives of using the video to try to advance their agenda.
This year, at least 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced and at least 78 have been enacted by state lawmakers across 41 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a group advocating for such rights. Of those bills, more than 220 pieces of legislation explicitly target transgender people.
In response, the Biden administration introduced a series of measures from various federal agencies to counteract actions from Republican-led states, including initiatives aimed at addressing youth LGBTQ homelessness and the appointment of an education coordinator who will monitor state book bans.
Speaking at Saturday’s picnic, Biden told the crowd, “Today, I want to send a message to the entire community—especially to transgender children: You are loved. You are heard. You’re understood. And you belong.”
“Whether you’re organizing a Pride parade, running a small business, or just trying to focus at school, you should have—you shouldn’t have to deal with bomb threats, harassment, and violent attacks,” the president said in his speech.
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