President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to advance LGBT rights.
“Our Nation has made great strides in fulfilling the fundamental promises of freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, owing to the leadership of generations of LGBTQI+ individuals, the president said in a statement.
“In spite of this historic progress, LGBTQI+ individuals and families still face systemic discrimination and barriers to full participation in our Nation’s economic and civic life,” he continued.
The order, signed during Pride Month, instructs the Biden administration to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy, a physical or emotional treatment used to change an individual’s same-sex attraction or gender identity. He urged federal agencies to guarantee that federally funded programs do not provide conversion therapy, which he called “dangerous.” He also called for increased public awareness about the “harms and risks” the treatment has on LGBT youth and their families.
The order will also expand access to family counseling and prioritize support for LGBT youth in the U.S.
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services will also work to address discrimination against LGBT people across the child welfare and juvenile systems.
Biden further asked the federal health and education departments to expand access to transgender treatments and comprehensive healthcare for LGBT individuals.
The Secretary of Education, too, was ordered to create a “Working Group on LGBTQI+ Students and Families,” which will work to address discrimination against LGBT individuals in schools. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will establish a working group of its own to address challenges – such as homelessness and housing instability – that LGBT people face.
Wednesday’s executive order follows the passage of a slew of state laws banning transgender athletes from competing in female sports, allowing conversion therapy and restricting certain educational materials in schools.
Photo courtesy: Drahomir Posteby Mach/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.