Partisan Controversy Over Easter and Transgender Day of Visibility

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Quick Take

Both Easter and the Transgender Day of Visibility happened to fall on March 31 this year. President Joe Biden recognized both occasions, as he has done every year in office. But some social media posts and conservative politicians characterized his acknowledgement of Transgender Day of Visibility as “mocking” Easter and declaring “war” on Christianity.


Full Story

Every year since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, he has issued a proclamation recognizing March 31 as the Transgender Day of Visibility.

Rachel Crandall Crocker, executive director and co-founder of Transgender Michigan, started the day of recognition in 2009. She chose March 31 as the date because it was far enough away from Pride Month in June and the more somber Transgender Day of Remembrance held every year in November to commemorate those in the community who have been killed out of hate — to have its own presence.

This year, Easter also fell on March 31. Biden issued Easter wishes that day, and the White House held its traditional Easter festivities for children on April 1.

The date for Easter shifts each year, but is always held between March 22 and April 25. The only other year that Easter has fallen on March 31 since the Transgender Day of Visibility began was in 2013.

But the fact that Biden issued his annual recognition of Transgender Visibility Day in a year when it coincided with Easter touched off a firestorm among some conservatives on social media.

One such post claimed Biden was “intentionally and purposely mocking” Easter. Another claimed, “BIDEN DECLARED WAR!!!”

Incidentally, March 31 was also César Chávez Day, honoring the founder of the United Farm Workers. Biden issued a proclamation recognizing that, too, although it didn’t get the same attention as his recognition of a day for transgender people, who have become a focal point in the culture wars.

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign, for example, described the recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter as “appalling,” and on March 30 his national press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, called on the 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.”

Other high-profile Trump allies — including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Sen. Josh Hawley and House Speaker Mike Johnson — followed suit.

Johnson’s post on X included screen shots of headlines that said “Biden Proclaims Easter Sunday ‘Transgender Day of Visibility,'” and “White House Bans Religious Easter Eggs From Art Contest.” The speaker wrote, “Banning sacred truth and tradition—while at the same time proclaiming Easter Sunday as ‘Transgender Day’—is outrageous and abhorrent.”

But, like the characterization that the administration had chosen to supplant Easter with Transgender Day of Visibility, the claim about the Easter egg ban is misleading, too.

In a statement, the American Egg Board said that it “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.”

Here’s what the submission form said (emphasis ours):

The Submission must not contain material that violates or infringes any rights of any other party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or any other intellectual property rights;

  • The Submission must not in any way disparage Sponsor or any other person or party;
  • The Submission must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous;
  • The Submission must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age;
  • The Submission must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations of the United States or of any jurisdiction where Submission is created.
  • The Submission must not promote illegal drugs or firearms (or the use of any of the foregoing), or any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous;
  • The Submission must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements; and
  • The Submission must be consistent with the image and values of Sponsor and be consistent with and satisfy the purpose of the submission.

Similarly, first lady Jill Biden’s communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, issued a statement saying, “the American Egg Board flyer’s standard non-discrimination language requesting artwork has been used for the last 45 years, across all Dem & Republican Admins—for all WH Easter Egg Rolls —incl previous Administration’s.”

The theme for this year’s Easter egg decoration contest was “Celebrating National Guard Families.”


Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Biden, Joe. “A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2021.” WhiteHouse.gov. 31 Mar 2021.

Biden, Joe. “A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2022.” WhiteHouse.gov. 30 Mar 2022.

Biden, Joe. “A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility.” WhiteHouse.gov. 30 Mar 2023.

Biden, Joe. “A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, 2024.” WhiteHouse.gov. 29 Mar 2024.

Sosin, Kate. “The history behind International Transgender Day of Visibility.” The 19th. 31 Mar 2021.

Biden, Joe. “Statement from President Joe Biden on Easter.” WhiteHouse.gov. 31 Mar 2024.

U.S. Navy, Astronomical Applications Department. The Date of Easter. Accessed 1 Apr 2024.

U.S. Census Bureau. Date of Easter (2000-2099). Revised 8 Oct 2021.

Biden, Joe. “A Proclamation on Cesar Chavez Day, 2024.” WhiteHouse.gov. 29 Mar 2024.

Boorstein, Michelle (@mboorstein). “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…” X. 31 Mar 2024.

Alexander, Elizabeth (@EAlexander46). Spokeswoman, First Lady Jill Biden. “*Fyi on all the misleading swirl re White House and Easter: the American Egg Board flyer’s standard non-discrimination language requesting artwork has been used for the last 45 years, across all Dem & Republican Admins—for all WH Easter Egg Rolls —incl previous Administration’s.” X. 30 Mar 2024.

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