Story at a glance
- The Trump administration removed multiple LGBTQ+ protections on the federal level.
- President Biden is poised to return these protections from discrimination through an executive order.
- The move will affect LGBTQ+ Americans both at work and at school.
When former President Trump took office four years ago, LGBTQ+ people started to disappear. Not physically, but digitally, as the administration removed not only LGBTQ+ names but also content. On President Biden's first day in office, the White House website was updated to include gender-inclusive pronouns and prefixes for those reaching out to the executive branch.
“On Day One, the Biden administration has taken immediate steps to include trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people in the conversation,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “Pronouns matter, and adding inclusive pronouns to a contact form is more than just a demonstration of allyship. Research has shown that recognition and respect of our pronouns can make all the difference for our health and wellbeing—especially when it comes to LGBTQ youth.”
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The gesture, however small, is an indicator to the LGBTQ+ community that this administration is starting to rebuild the progress the Trump administration sought to repeal. But it wasn’t just one step back. Over the last four years, the Human Rights Campaign tracked dozens of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, several of which came in the form of executive orders. Now, advocates are anticipating one of their own that will prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"GLSEN applauds the incoming Administration for taking this crucial step to finally uphold the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. This executive order will not only address Title VII workplace protections, but will also strengthen the U.S. Department of Education's responsibility to enforce Title IX protections against discrimination on the basis of sex in K-12 schools, and reverse the cruel and harmful eleventh-hour actions of Trump and DeVos,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN, in a statement.
Those actions included a memo from the Department of Education that claims educational programs and activities can still be restricted based on "biological sex," as the "prohibition on sex discrimination" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not apply to Title IX. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities, including sports.
Advocates aren’t stopping there, however, advocating for the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Equality Act as well as additional federal survey data collection on LGBTQ+ students' experiences and identifying ways to "direct additional school resources to programs that support underserved LGBTQ+ students and educators."
“Discrimination, systemic racism and the negative policies and attacks by the previous administration created conditions for the pandemic and economic crisis to disproportionately impact the LGBTQ community and queer people of color. The time has never been more urgent to take bold steps for equality to lift and heal all Americans,” said Ellis in a statement acknowledging the strides the administration has already taken, including a cabinet and staff that include a record number of LGBTQ+ people.
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