The Democratic leader signed an executive order that bolsters protections for members of the LGBT community, which is seen as a move to curb Republican anti-LGBT youth rights laws.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed the "Executive Order Advancing Equality for LGBTQI+ Individuals," which seeks to improve protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The executive order requires the Department of Health and Human Services to protect LGBT youth and their families from "attacks" on their access to healthcare and orders the agency to establish new policies for states on how to expand access to healthcare for members of the LGBT community. Under the new executive order that comes just in time for Pride Month, the Department of Education must also establish school policies for "achieving full inclusion" for LGBT students.
"My message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You do belong," the 79 year old leader of the Free World addressed the public at the White House before signing the executive order, as per the Wall Street Journal. "I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage have your back."
Democratic President Seeks to Build on 'Historic Progress' for Members of the LGBT Community
According to a Fact Sheet released by the White House on Wednesday, President Biden's new executive order seeks to address "discriminatory legislative attacks" on LGBT youth and their families by directing key agencies to protect these children and their families, prevent "conversion therapy" and protect children from what the White House called a "harmful practice," safeguard LGBT health care and programs established to "prevent youth suicide," support LGBT childrena nd theif families through initiatives that protect foster youth, alleviate homelessness, and improve access to federal programs, and pursue actions that advance LGBT equality.
Reuters reported that as per LGBT anti-suicide advocacy group the Trevor Project, about $650 million is spent on conversion therapy every year, including paymetns from insurance companies and the federally funded healthcare program Medicaid, which caters to lower income individuals.
President Biden lamented during Pride Month that states have introduced many bills that target members of the LGBT community, describing it as the "ultra-MAGA" agenda, referencing former President Donald Trump's campaign slogan. He also pointed out how LGBT youth and their families are being harassed in Texas, with parents of LGBT kids being labeled as "child abusers" and being investigated by the Texas government. President Biden said, "These attacks are real and consequential for real families."
According to the White House, more than 300 "anti-LGBTQI+" measures were introduced in state legislatures in the past year alone. These involve preventing classroom discussion of gender identity, preventing young people from accessing "gender-affirming healthcare," and restricting trans athletes' participation in women's sports.
President Biden Renews Calls to for Congress to Pass the Equality Act
On Wednesday, President Biden also urged Congress to pass the Equality Act, which seeks to amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification protections, Breitbart reported. The Equality Act remains on Capitol Hill, which is why the Democratic leader urged Congress to pass the law, saying it was vital to "enshrine the long overdue civil rights protections of all Americans, every American."