The incoming Biden administration has promised swift action to protect LGBTQ+ rights upon taking office in January. According to their transition team, Biden and Harris plan on employing a multifaceted approach to swiftly counter rising hate and discrimination, using executive orders to reverse discriminatory Trump-era policies while working with Congress to pass stalled legislation that would guarantee LGBTQ+ protections nationwide. One of the first on the list of soon-to-be-axed policies is Trump’s ban of transgender members of the military.
“This fight’s not over,” the Biden transition team announced. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence have given hate against LGBTQ+ individuals safe harbor and rolled back critical protections for the LGBTQ+ community.”
Trump’s ban on nearly all transgender service members reversed an Obama-era decision to allow trans people to serve openly. A federal court later ruled the ban was legal because it did not constitute a blanket ban. Advocates for trans service members strongly disagreed with that court’s ruling, and Biden made overturning it one of his key LGBTQ+ policy positions.
“By blocking the ability of transgender individuals to openly serve their country, denying LGBTQ+ people access to critical health care, proposing policies allowing federally funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people and federally funded adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples, and failing to address the epidemic of violence against transgender people—particularly transgender women of color—the Trump-Pence Administration has led a systematic effort to undo the progress President Obama and Vice President Biden made,” the Biden transition team noted.
In addition to overturning Trump’s trans military ban, the stalled Equality Act will be another high priority. The Equality Act, or H.R. 5, would provide protections nationwide on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation against discrimination in employment, schools, credit, housing, and public accommodations, and federally funded programs. The bill would also codify certain anti-discrimination protections for women and would extend discrimination protections for people of color. It passed in the House last year, but has been stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Some of the other items on the Biden LGBTQ+ agenda include reinstating Obama directives regarding trans student access to gender-appropriate restroom and locker room facilities, increased funding for violence protections for the trans community, and ending conversion therapy nationwide.
Biden plans on rapid action in the first 100 days of his administration, with the intent of reversing the hateful policies of the past and instead making a more inclusive society that recognizes and rewards everyone equally.
“We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability.”