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President Joe Biden has taken a public stance in support of transgender rights, and the administration has announced and implemented a number of measures in favor of the community. Delaney Tarr reports on the White House plan for trans Americans.
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order establishing that it is the official policy of the Biden-Harris Administration to prevent and combat discrimination against transgender individuals. The White House also recognized the Transgender Day of Visibility for the first time this year.
Now, at the closure of Pride month, the Biden administration continues to push for progress on the issue – even as state governments take steps in the other direction. The rights of trans people are a hotbed of discriminatory policy and rhetoric.
In the State of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis passed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” barring trans girls from competing in girl’s sports at public high schools. It’s not the only state to do so. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have all adopted legislation restricting transgender girls from women’s sports.
Arkansas took their legislation even further, banning gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth under the age of 18. The step ignores advice from major LGBTQ+ rights groups like the Human Rights Campaign, as well as advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics and families with transgender children.
The moves all amount to steps backwards in the fight for transgender rights, yet the state-level policies are in stark contrast to federal goals.
In a win for the community, the Supreme Court recently upheld a ruling that a Virginia school had been discriminatory in barring a transgender student from the men’s bathroom. The success comes after six years of legal battles.
The Biden administration’s objectives match that success, with both internal and external work. The White House says Biden has taken action to “advance equality for transgender Americans and root out discrimination at the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
The White House recently released a toolkit outlining practices the Federal government plans to implement to combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity, an act in line with an Executive Order that establishes broad imperatives to make the federal government a “model employer” for transgender people.
The administration also focused attention on gender-affirming care for the nation’s veterans. The move comes after the Trump administration’s restrictions on transgender military personnel, with policies that critics said amounted to a “transgender military ban”.
The White House said the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it is “beginning the regulatory process to removed outdated restrictions that prevent transgender veterans from accessing the gender-affirming care they need and deserve.”
A large step for transgender Americans came in the form of federal ID reform. Transgender, gender non-conforming and nonbinary Americans have long struggled to update their gender markers without jumping through the many hoops of medical documentation requirements.
The State Department announced it’s updating procedures to remove those requirements, as well as beginning the process to add a third gender marker for nonbinary, gender non-conforming and intersex people.
Amid the levels of violence and discrimination that transgender Americans, especially trans women and girls of color face, President Biden has made his stance clear.
“To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people,” said Biden in remarks to the nation, “You’re so brave. I want you to know your president has your back.”
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