Story at a glance

  • The Trump administration took several antitransgender stances on a federal policy level and challenged protections against discrimination.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is restoring Obama-era protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • President Biden has also thrown his support behind the Equality Act, which would make such protections permanent under federal law.

The back-and-forth between the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations over federal protections against discrimination has left the LGBTQ+ community with a serious case of whiplash — and concern over how long their rights will last. 

On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reversed the Trump administration’s removal of protections for LGBTQ+ Americans under Section 1557 and Title IX, extending prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The agency cited the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that extended protections against workplace discrimination to the LGBTQ+ community on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 


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“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone – including LGBTQ people - should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

The move signaled a return to Obama-era policies supporting LGBTQ+ Americans on a federal level as their rights come under attack from antitransgender legislation introduced and passed in several states across the nation. The policy will affect programs that receive federal funding, including public schools, homeless shelters and other community resources, but leaves the community vulnerable to reversals from future administrations. 


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Democrats in Congress are struggling to pass the Equality Act, which would make such protections permanent under federal law, and President Biden has issued his support for the legislation, which is seeing heavy opposition from Republicans. 

“The mission of our Department is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. All people need access to healthcare services to fix a broken bone, protect their heart health, and screen for cancer risk,” said Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health and the first transgender federal official approved by the Senate, in a statement. “No one should be discriminated against when seeking medical services because of who they are.”


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NEW NC BILL WOULD REQUIRE SCHOOLS TO TELL PARENTS IF A CHILD ‘EXHIBITS GENDER NONCONFORMITY’

ARKANSAS AND SOUTH DAKOTA PASS LBGTQ BANS THAT TARGET TRANSGENDER MINORS

TRANSGENDER STUDENT WINS $300K FROM SCHOOL IN DISCRIMINATION CASE

FIRST TRANSGENDER US OFFICIAL WINS SENATE CONFIRMATION

MISSISSIPPI BANS TRANSGENDER ATHLETES FROM COMPETING ON GIRLS’ OR WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAMS


 

Published on May 10, 2021