President Biden Embraces the LGBTQ+ Community on First Day
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden sent a clear message to the United States and the world: LGBTQ+ people will not be cast aside, overlooked, ignored, discriminated against or marginalized. This is a stark contrast to the previous administration, whose vice president was one of the most homophobic governors in the United States. The Trump administration’s record on LGBTQ+rights was horrendous, going so far as to even ban any mention of LGBTQ+ rights or people on federal government websites. The post-Obergefell United States was sliding backwards on LGBTQ+ rights and equality just years after same-sex marriage became the law of the land. It was a wholesale attempt at erasure.
Trump’s administration has an excessively long list of anti-LGBTQ+ policies: appointing anti-LGBTQ+ judges, banning transgender troops from the armed forces, and even arguing before the Supreme Court that businesses should be allowed to discriminate people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender. In Trump’s America, LGBTQ+ people were cast aside, marginalized, and erased in the eyes of the government — making them more vulnerable in society.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden began to immediately reverse this tide of discrimination and hatred. He signed an executive order clarifying and requiring that federal agencies consider sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the word “sex” within the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the Supreme Court had ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County in 2020. Previously, the Trump administration had tried to apply this ruling only as it relates to employment. President Biden is making sure it applies to all facets of the government, law, and society in which government is involved — not just employment. This means that transgender children cannot be targeted at schools for the restrooms that they use, that LGBTQ+ people cannot be denied medical treatment because of who they are or who they love.
The Human Rights Campaign released a statement after President Biden issued one of his first executive orders, stating that it “is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.” This, after our previous president refused to even issue a presidential proclamation for Pride Month, as has been tradition in the Obama administration. Trump didn’t even acknowledge Pride Month for his entire presidency, except once, and it was in a Tweet. Meanwhile the FBI reports that hate crimes spiked by 20% under Trump’s presidency, the highest they have been in more than a decade. It is not surprising that a hateful bigot who spews hateful rhetoric and supports hateful and discriminatory policies — has presided over the largest increase in hate crimes in more than a decade. It is his own rise that has helped contribute to violence against minority communities by those who are bigoted and feel emboldened to hate because their own is in the White House.
There is still much work to be done and President Biden is just getting started. Thanks to democratic majorities in Congress, the Equality Act has now become a possibility. After four years in which the previous administration tried to throw LGBTQ+ equality and progress back into the dustbin, the LGBTQ+ community has prevailed, by remaining resilient and steadfast.
We will be counting on Joe Biden to deliver. He does not show any signs of abating.