Biden mobilizes the federal government to advance LGBTQ+ equality
The president’s new executive order expands protections for queer youth and their families against state-level attacks, safeguards foster youth and strengthens support for the community’s elders.
Midway through Pride Month, on the day that news broke that he plans to appoint the first LGBTQ+ person to serve as the president’s chief lawyer and surrounded by a group of LGBTQ+ students, Joe Biden signed an executive order focused on expanding protections for queer youth and their families against attacks from state legislatures and ending so-called conversion therapy.
With specific directives to several federal agencies — including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget — the sweeping notice is also designed to safeguard foster youth and strengthen support for older LGBTQ+ Americans.
The signing was the culmination of a White House reception to celebrate the administration’s progress on LGBTQ+ rights and, according to a senior administration official, offered the president an opportunity to stand up to an anti-LGBTQ+ movement that feels emboldened to propose and pass harmful statewide legislation despite overwhelming public support for LGBTQ+ equality.
“My presence here is a testament that we are fighting back,” Javier Gomez, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Florida who helped to organize the statewide student walkouts over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that bans teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ people and families, said in his introduction of the president. “Because our lives are glorious, beautiful and worthy. We deserve respect and love. And until we have that, we will continue to fight for liberation.”
It’s a worrisome moment for the nation as gas and food prices have contributed to inflation higher than we’ve seen in 40 decades. We’re still experiencing a pandemic and reeling from mass shootings that have even the most conservative gun owners calling on elected officials to take meaningful action. But when it rains for cisgender straight people, it pours for the LGBTQ+ community.