Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Wiki
President Biden has signed what the Human Rights Campaign has called the “most substantive, wide-ranging LGBTQ executive order in US history" on his first day in office.
The ‘Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation’ was announced yesterday.
It coincided with the Democratic leader's star-studded swearing-in ceremony in Washington, DC, after he defeated Republican Donald Trump in the polls last November.
“All persons should receive equal treatment under the law”
The aforementioned order is detailed on the White House website, with Biden saying: “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.
“Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.
“People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation."
The order follows a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2020 in favour of a man, Gerald Bostock, who was fired from his job for expressing interest in a gay softball team.
“Sigh of relief”
Explaining the far-reaching impact of the order, Alphonso David, President of the Human Right Campaign, said in a statement: “Biden’s Executive Order is the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.
“Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal.
“By fully implementing the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Bostock, the federal government will enforce federal law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and education, and other key areas of life.
“While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law. The full slate of Day One Executive Orders mark a welcome shift from the politics of xenophobia and discrimination to an administration that embraces our world, its people and its dreamers. We look forward to continuing to engage with the White House, Department of Justice, and other agencies to ensure that Bostock is properly implemented across the federal government.”
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Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force commented: “Today, we saw newly elected President Biden sign executive orders that exemplify the kind of leadership and breadth of understanding of what we face as a nation and as a community.
“From racial equity to fair immigration policies to specifically combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, the Biden-Harris administration clearly understands that there exist chasms of disparity for so many of us.
“These actions rightly begin to immediately address the over-arching crises of the pandemic, the economy, and the clear and present danger of white supremacy, while leading the way to address the many ways diverse communities face disparities on every level.
“It is of great significance to the LGBTQ community that on their first day in office, this administration has made it clear that discrimination has no place in the federal government.”
The Attitude 101 February issue featuring 101 LGBTQ trailblazers is out now.