Biden signs executive order to expand LGBTQ protections
President Joe Biden issued an executive order to expand LGBTQ protections on Wednesday, June 15.
In a statement, the White House said that the executive order addresses:
- Legislative attacks against LGBTQ children and families, directing agencies to protect families and children
- Preventing so-called “conversion therapy”
- Safeguarding health care, and programs designed to prevent youth suicide
- Supporting LGBTQ children and families by launching an initiative to protect foster youth, prevent homelessness, and improve access to federal programs
- Taking new steps to advance LGBTQ equality.
Many of the policies and programs will be through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The department is chargedwith protecting LGBTQ children and families from attacks on their access to healthcare and is instructed to release new sample policies for states on how to expand access to comprehensive health care for LGBTQ patients.
HHS will also explore guidance to clarify that federally-funded programs cannot offer so-called “conversion therapy.” It will work to increase public awareness about its harms, provide training and technical assistance to health care providers, and expand support for services to help survivors.
HHS will also address barriers and exclusionary policies facing LGBTQ people seeking healthcare, including mental health care, reproductive health care, and HIV prevention and treatment. The department will work with states to promote expanded access to gender-affirming care. HHS has also been ordered to expand youth access to suicide prevention resources, and to issue new guidance through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on providing evidence-informed mental health care for LGBTQ youth.
Department of Education has been tasked with addressing the impacts of state laws that target LGBTQ students and releasing a sample school policy for achieving full inclusion for LGBTQ students.
Biden is also encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether the practice constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and whether to issue consumer warnings or notices. And, he is directing the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and HHS to develop an action plan to promote an end to so-called “conversion therapy” around the world and ensure that U.S. foreign assistance dollars do not fund the practice.
“The executive order is a clear indication that the Biden administration clearly understands the issues that are of importance to our community,” said Dave Bentlin, president of the Prairie Pride Coalition in Bloomington/Normal. “This is leadership the LGBTQ+ community appreciates.”
“Especially in the midst of some of the most vicious attacks our community has ever faced, we are grateful to the President and this administration for embracing LGBTQI+ people and our families as full-fledged members of this nation who deserve equal consideration, protections, resources, and support,” said Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR executive director.
“As a survivor of conversion therapy, I am grateful for President Biden’s action,” said Mathew Shurka, co-founder and chief strategist of Born Perfect, an initiative that has led efforts to protect youth from conversion therapy since 2014. “My own family was deeply harmed by this fraudulent practice, which has destroyed countless other families and lives. President Biden’s pledge to stop this deadly abuse gives me enormous hope for the future.”
“After decades of demanding change and falling through the cracks in both racial justice and LGBTQ+ liberation groups, the federal government is finally doing something to systematically ensure equity for all parts of us,” said Victoria Kirby York, deputy director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “State and local governments should look to this model of rooting out inequities across government while increasing access and use of government services – something NBJC has been very vocal about with the White House and various federal agencies.”