Advertisement

Fact Check: Rumors that Biden Proclaimed Easter Sunday as Transgender Day of Visibility are Missing Context

The White House/Wikimedia Commons
The White House/Wikimedia Commons

Claim:

In March 2024, U.S. President Joe Biden proclaimed Easter Sunday as Transgender Day of Visibility.

Rating:

Rating: Mixture
Rating: Mixture

Context:

Biden issued a proclamation naming March 31, 2024, the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). He issued the same proclamation on the same date, March 31, every year since 2021. In 2024, the date happened to coincide with Easter Sunday, a moveable holiday that shifts dates annually based on the spring equinox.

 

On March 29, 2024, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation declaring March 31, 2024, the Transgender Day of Visibility — that is, he formally recognized the day as one to dedicated to celebrating the transgender community. The day also happened to be Easter Sunday.

Numerous anti-Biden media outlets, internet commentators and pundits claimed Biden committed "blasphemy" by issuing the Transgender Day of Visibility proclamation on Easter Sunday. For instance, former U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign said in a statement, "It is appalling and insulting that Joe Biden's White House […] formally proclaimed Easter Sunday as 'Trans Day of Visibility."

Donald Trump Jr. also tweeted: "They want people worshipping the trans flag instead of god."


(Screenshot via X)


(Screenshot via X)

The above statements were misleading. While they referenced a genuine document from the White House, people started recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility annually on March 31 since at least 2010 — including Biden, who has been issuing such proclamations as president since 2021. The date for Easter Sunday, however, shifts each year. It falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox, according to long-standing Christian tradition.

In addition to the Transgender Day of Visibility proclamation, Biden is a devout Catholic and has frequently spoken publicly about his faith. On Easter Sunday 2024, he issued this statement: "Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ's Resurrection."

The overlap of Easter and the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) in 2024 was entirely coincidental. There was no evidence of a Biden-led effort to make sure Easter fell on the same day as TDOV so he could recognize the latter over the former. We reached out to the White House asking for its response to that claim, and we will update this report when, or if, it answers us.

Biden's official White House statement with the proclamation, released on March 29, 2024, said:

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.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2024, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  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 based on gender identity.

The statement did not claim to replace Easter Sunday with TDOV, nor serve as a proclamation combining the two occasions to take place on the same date in the future.

According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a media-monitoring organization, Rachel Crandall, a trans activist, established the first International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2010 to celebrate the lives of transgender people when most media stories focused on violence against them.

Biden's March 29 announcement was not unusual. His administration acknowledged the same day in prior years, as seen in a March 30, 2023, White House document.

As for the date of Easter, the BBC noted, the day is designated based on the ecclesiastical (meaning "of the Church") full moon — that is, it's not calculated in the way astronomers would do it. When picking the date, the church considers the spring equinox always to occur on March 21, according to the BBC.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Easter Sunday will be on April 20 in 2025.

Sources:

"A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility." The White House, 30 March 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2023/03/30/a-proclamation-on-transgender-day-of-visibility/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

"A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, 2024." The White House, 29 March 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2024/03/29/a-proclamation-on-transgender-day-of-visibility-2024/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

"A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2021." The White House, 31 March 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/03/31/a-proclamation-on-transgender-day-of-visibility-2021/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

Knudsen, Hannah. "'Gross and Evil': Biden White House Disrespects Easter." Breitbart, 30 March 2024, https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2024/03/30/gross-evil-biden-white-house-disrespects-easter/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

"Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America 2025." United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, https://www.usccb.org/resources/2025cal.pdf. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

"Statement from President Joe Biden on Easter." The White House, 31 March 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/03/31/statement-from-president-joe-biden-on-easter-2/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

Waldenberg, Samantha. "Republicans Slam Biden for Proclaiming Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter, Though It's Yearly Observed on March 31 | CNN Politics." CNN, 30 March 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/30/politics/easter-trans-day-visibility-trump-biden-johnson/index.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

Wang, Amy B. "Trump Falsely Attacks Biden over Easter Coinciding with Transgender Day of Visibility." Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/03/31/trump-biden-easter-transgender-day/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.

"Why Does the Date of Easter Move Around?" BBC Bitesize, https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zn2njhv. Accessed 1 Apr. 2024.