On June 15 (and during Pride Month), President Joe Biden signed an executive order advancing equality for LGBTQI+ U.S. residents.
In part, Biden's order reads, "It is … the policy of my Administration to combat unlawful discrimination and eliminate disparities that harm LGBTQI+ individuals and their families, defend their rights and safety, and pursue a comprehensive approach to delivering the full promise of equality for LGBTQI+ individuals, consistent with Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021 (Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation).
Among other things, the executive actions direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work with states to expand gender-affirming care and access to youth mental health counseling; strengthen non-discrimination protections in the foster care system; and clarify that federally funded programs cannot offer "conversion therapy," the widely discredited practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, CBS News reported.
At a reception to celebrate Pride Month that Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff also attended, First Lady Jill Biden said, "Pride is a celebration of the courage it takes to stand up for what's right, to become the leaders we need, to live an authentic life," according to a White House press release.
She added, "We recognize it as an act of bravery and beauty, of daring and defiance. And we look forward to a time when that courage is no longer needed, when all people in all places can feel the freedom and the joy that we feel here today.
"What Joe said 10 years ago was right: Love is love."
In a statement Windy City Times received, National Black Justice Coalition Deputy Director Victoria Kirby York said, "The President's executive order advancing LGBTQIA+ equity is a great example of governing for all of us and includes several policy proposals that the National Black Justice Coalition has supported and recommendedmost recently, federal government action on the slate of state attacks on Black, gay and transgender children in education and healthcare.
"Today's order regarding LGBTQ+ inclusive data will allow us to disaggregate data better to identify root causes and solutions to the many disparities impacting Black LGBTQ+/SGL families. The best solutions to support our kids and families are found in the cross tabs of research that are often unavailable or not inclusive enough to leverage by civil rights advocates. American lives will be changed for the better thanks to these improvements in data collection."
GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis was among those attending the White House reception and executive order signing. She responded on Twitter and in a media statement, "At a time when anti-LGBTQ misinformation and rhetoric is at a peak, the importance of LGBTQ visibility at the White House cannot be overstated. Today's LGBTQ Pride Month reception and the signing of an executive order strengthening critical protections for our community help show the world that LGBTQ Americans are a valued and respected part of this country, and we aren't going anywhere."
Republican legislators have targeted LGBTQ+ rights, particularly for transgender children and teens, with states banning participation in sports for trans females as well as discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms. Two states (Florida and Texas) even have legislators who have proposed making it a felony to bring minors to drag shows.
The full executive order is at www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/06/15/executive-order-on-advancing-equality-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer-and-intersex-individuals/ .