Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

What President Biden’s Latest Executive Orders Mean if You’re Young and Queer

By Christine Siamanta Kinori

Photo Credit: Patrick Samemsky, AP

In the final few days of Pride and a storm of relentless legislative attacks, President Biden took out his pen to sign an executive order to protect the LGBTQ+ community.

In the past few years, conservative political leaders have managed to sign laws that limit access to gender affirming care for trans youth, prohibit trans girls and women from competing on girls’ sports teams in school, and ban the instruction of LGBTQ+ issues such as gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom.

The President’s executive order aims to better support LGBTQ+ youth. In a critical move, the measure would ban federally funded conversion therapy. This is an inhumane form of therapy where doctors try change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation with treatment. Through the order, President Biden directs the Federal Trade Commission to consider whether the practice constitutes an unfair or deceptive act. In his speech, President Biden added “this is the first time the federal government is using a coordinated response against this dangerous, discredited practice.”

The order also directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with states to expand access to youth mental health counseling and fortify non-discrimination protections in the foster care system. HHS was also directed to devise “new sample policies for states on how to enable access to comprehensive healthcare” for LGBTQ patients. The Department of Education has been tasked with releasing a “full inclusion” policy for public schools across the U.S.

The signing of this executive order comes at a critical time in the history of the country’s LGBTQ+ rights movement. It is also a sign that President Biden is working on fulfilling his promises to the queer community made during his 2020 campaign.

In the ceremony, flanked by LGBTQ+ activists, President Biden acknowledged that America is “in a battle for the soul of the nation.” He, however, went on to reassure them that it is a battle they can win.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a record number of over 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in states across the country this year. The President expressed his commitment to the community, relaying “my message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are understood. You do belong.” He added, “I want you to know that as your President, all of us on this stage, have your back.”

About the Author:

Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.

Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.

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