Today, President Joe Biden officially declared June as Pride Month. During the Trump presidency, the tradition of declaring June Pride Month begun by President Obama, was halted. While President Trump ardently asserted that he supported the LGBTQ+ community, his decision to forego this declaration all four years he was in office sent a vastly different message to many members of the queer community.
In a White House statement released on June 1, the Biden administration makes clear that the executive branch is taking a new direction, “After four years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions to accelerate the march toward full LGBTQ+ equality.”
Are these empty promises? Considering that all qualified Americans, now including transgender people, can serve in the Armed Forces suggests otherwise. This was accomplished with an executive order. According to The White House statement, the new administration will “…provide a path for transgender service-members to access gender-affirming medical care, and require that all transgender service-members are treated with dignity and respect.”
Statistics also show that the Biden administration has hired 14% LGBTQ+ out of all new staffers added to the payroll.
Joe’s Got Your Back!
The White House statement goes on to clarify: “The Biden-Harris Administration reaffirms that no one should face discrimination or harassment because of who they are or whom they love.” The President is pushing for the ratification of the Equality Act, a bill that would ensure equality and the protection of civil rights to LGBTQ+ Americans. According to the wording of the statement, “…the President has the back of LGBTQ+ people across the country and will continue fighting for full equality for every American…”
Executive orders can only accomplish so much. Even so, on his first day in office, President Biden signed an order as a temporary fix, called the Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. This Order directs all Federal agencies to “fully enforce” the civil rights of Americans on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Federal agencies have already moved to come into compliance with this new Executive Order, including necessary changes in health care, housing, credit & lending, veteran services, and incarcerated transgender prisoners, undertaken by the Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Another Executive order penned by “Grandpa Joe” concerns “advanc[ing] equity and justice for communities who have been left behind, underserved, or discriminated against by federal policies, laws, and programs, including LGBTQ+ communities.” This is all about getting to the dark heart of bias, in all its forms, to create a new America that is more equitable, more fair, and more compassionate.
According to the WH statement, ” LGBTQ+ individuals and families have been disproportionately burdened by the COVID-19 health crisis and economic crisis.” The President’s American Rescue Plan combats this in a number of ways: addressing food insecurity, advancing health equity, supporting LGBTQ+ people facing job discrimination, and addressing housing insecurity and homelessness amongst the LGBTQ+ community.
Advancing Gay Rights
The Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World helps queer people, worldwide. “[It] shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons around the world.”
This Presidential Memorandum addresses the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people living in other countries. Another key aim is to fight “discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and intolerance on the basis of LGBTQ+ status or conduct…” Refugees and asylum seekers who happen to be LGBTQ+ will also be helped. The Federal Government will also get involved in situations where individuals living outside the United States are supported by a real, tangible response. Building a coalition with other nations to combat bias against the queer community is another key goal.
-Section Credited to Staff Writer E.T.
Advancing Gender Equity and Equality
President Biden signed an executive order requiring the advancement of gender equity, particularly among those in the LGBTQAI+ community, and transgender women and girls. Gender equity is a term that refers to treating women and men fairly, with both men and women being afforded equal conference of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.
Ensuring Educational Environments are Free from Sex Discrimination and Protecting LGBTQ+ Students from Sexual Harassment
IN yet another Executive Order relating to LGBTQ rights and equity, the president re-committed the federal government to guaranteeing freedom from sex discrimination and harassment. Although this right is already enshrined in multiple laws, the new EO “…charged the Department of Education with reviewing the significant rates at which students who identify as LGBTQ+ are subject to sexual harassment, including sexual violence.” This will bring attention to a contemporary issue that should be researched and dealt with.
Supporting LGBTQ Rights In The Military
This memorandum signed by the President requires agencies, including the military and other national security agencies, to actively promote and support LGBTQ persons, as well as their family members. This is a far more progressive reality than ever before; recall that even under President Clinton, the policy regarding homosexual individuals in the military was, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Emergency Shelter for Trans People
HUD restored protections for transgender persons who are seeking emergency shelter and homeless services. This is in distinction to the previous administration, which proposed a rule allowing transgender persons to be subject to “…inappropriate and intrusive inquiries, deny[ing] them accommodations, and subject[ing] them to greater harassment.” (from HUD Nop. 21-069)
Creating A Historically Diverse Cabinet And Administration
The Biden administration has shown its sincerity and dedication to the cause of LGBTQ+ rights by helping this marginalized group. According to the White House, “…President Biden has assembled the most diverse Administration in our Nation’s history, and is proud to serve alongside the 14 percent of all appointees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.” As of 2018, the estimate of LGBT people was at about 4.5%, according to a Gallup poll. In a 2019 Gallup poll, Americans vastly overestimate the number of gay individuals in our population, on average guessing 23.6%.
Transgender Day of Visibility
To honor the resiliency and achievements of transgender people in America, President Biden made a proclamation for Transgender Day Of Visibility, to be held annually on March 31. From the Proclamation, “Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world…The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to fulfilling the promise of America for all Americans by stamping out discrimination and delivering freedom and equality for all.”
It should be noted, however, that even the President of the United States cannot legislate people’s feelings, whether positive or negative. However, what a President can do is what President Biden has done: Placing the transgender community squarely in the center of our focus, making sure there is no mistake about how trans people will be regarded as valuable American, and world, citizens. While an increasing number of people are accepting of the transgender community, there remain others whom are not. It is the passage of time, more even than executive orders, that will change this situation among Americans and the world.
Pride Flags To Fly On Embassies
“The State Department announced it will allow U.S. diplomatic outposts to fly the Pride flag on the same flagpole as the U.S. flag at their embassy or consulate, demonstrating that the United States will lead on LGBTQI+ human rights around the world.” While some people, veterans even, may get angry, it’s perfectly within what can be done. As long as the American Flag is flown higher, what’s the big deal? This symbolizes America’s commitment to protecting LGBTQAI+ people, that Our nation will protect, and promote the welfare of, queer people worldwide. Everyone should have rights. Human rights are not an “extra.”
-Section Credited to Staff Writer M.E., Edited by E.T.