Biden signs executive orders protecting LGBTQ+ rights

Washington DC - President Joe Biden marked Pride Month on Wednesday by issuing a string of executive orders to strengthen LGBTQ+ rights and push back against a tide of "hateful" laws enacted by Republican-run states.

President Joe Biden signing executive orders aimed at strengthening LGBTQ+ rights.
President Joe Biden signing executive orders aimed at strengthening LGBTQ+ rights.  © REUTERS

The orders discourage so-called "conversion therapy" while promoting gender-affirming surgery and expanding protections for gay and transgender parents and children.

"President Biden always stands up to bullies, and that's what these extreme MAGA laws and policies do," said a senior administration official, previewing the event. "Hateful, discriminatory laws that target children are out of line with where the American people are."

"Biden is going to use his executive authority to protect kids and families," the official added.

New protections for trans kids

The White House says the actions, which will use money already allocated to federal agencies, will counter hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in GOP states like Florida's infamous Don't Say Gay law that aims to stifle discussion of gender and sexual identity in schools.

They protect transgender kids who are facing a string of new laws barring them from some sports and from undergoing medical care to help them transition to their chosen gender identity.

The actions will also beef up programs that help combat suicide among LGBTQ+ children and teens.

Biden also renewed his calls for Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.

The measure has been stalled on Capitol Hill, but the president said it's necessary to "enshrine the long overdue civil rights protections of all Americans, every American."

More on this topic from TAG24:

LGBTQ+ rights advocates hail measures

From l. to r.: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris, and first lady Jill Biden.
From l. to r.: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris, and first lady Jill Biden.  © REUTERS

The president, first lady Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris attended a crowded reception in the White House's East Room, where the adjacent hallway was decorated in rainbow colors.

Also present were LGBTQ activists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, as well as top administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has adopted twins with his husband, Chasten.

LGBTQ+ rights advocates quickly cheered Biden's moves as much-needed protection for a community under attack.

"We are grateful to the president... for embracing LGBTQI+ people and our families," said Imani Rupert-Gordon, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"Despite recent and relentless political attacks, we are hopeful that this will move us forward toward a day where all LGBTQ young people can be themselves without fear of discrimination or violence," said Amit Paley of The Trevor Project, which offers mental health support to LGBTQ youth.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on the topic LGBTQ+: