White House creates Easter furore with annual transgender message, contest rules

White House creates Easter furore with annual transgender message, contest rules U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, April 10, 2023. The White House issued a proclamation March 29, 2024, for the Transgender Day of Visibility, which is observed annually March 31 and coincides this year with Easter. (OSV News photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

A proclamation from the nation’s second Catholic president on a transgender-themed occasion is causing consternation among some faithful, as the date coincides this year with Easter – and as the annual White House Easter egg art contest bans, among other things, religious symbolism.

On March 29, President Joe Biden issued his annual message for the March 31 “International Transgender Day of Visibility,” which he said “honour(s) the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm(s) our Nation’s commitment to forming a more perfect Union.”

The observance was created in 2009 by psychotherapist Rachel Crandall-Crocker, executive director of the advocacy group Transgender Michigan and its Transgender Michigan help line.

At the same time, the White House instructed youth participating in its traditional Easter egg art contest to refrain from designs with “religious symbols” and “overtly religious themes”, as well as “partisan political statements”; hateful and discriminatory material, and “any questionable content”.

Biden’s proclamation, the simultaneous dates of Easter and the transgender observance, and the White House contest rules combined to spark outrage on social media.

Among those weighing in was Catholic pro-life advocate Lila Rose, who wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, March 30 that the White House “will proudly celebrate the religion of the trans cult, but ban Christian ‘symbols or themes’ on the biggest Christian holiday – Easter.

“Our ‘Catholic’ President cynically uses the faith when convenient as a selling point, and then mocks and denigrates it,” she wrote.

However, regarding the White House’s egg contest rules, Politico reports those rules have been in place for every administration since 1976 – including under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. 

The Trump campaign attempted to castigate Biden for the Easter egg restrictions, but then caused its stir by saying an apology was owed “to the millions of Catholics and Christians”.

The Biden campaign shot back that “Catholics *are* Christians. You don’t say ‘Catholics and Christians’”. Politico pointed out the unnecessary distinction has a thorny history as some US Protestant churches have argued that Catholics are not actually Christians.