Biden signs order to fight state bills that discriminate against LGBTQ+ community – National

Our President Joe Biden issued an executive order Wednesday to stop what his administration calls discriminatory legislative attacks on LGBTQ communities of Republican-controlled states, announced before a signing ceremony attended by activists, “pride is back in the White House.”

The order is intended to discourage “transformation therapy” – a discrediting method that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity – and promote sex-affirmation surgery. and expand foster care protections for gay and transgender parents and children.

Mining money that has been allocated to federal agencies instead of asking for new funding, Biden said the order is aimed at combating more than 300 anti-LGBTQ laws introduced by state lawmakers over the past year. The Department of Health and Human Services will draft new policies to expand care for LGBTQ families, and the Department of Education will introduce rules to better protect LGBTQ students in public schools.

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The president, first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended a crowded reception in the East Room of the White House, where the adjacent hallway was decorated with rainbow colors. In attendance were LGBTQ activists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress, and top administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who adopted the twins. born to her husband, Chasten.

The gathering was part of the Biden administration’s recognition of Pride Month.

“All of you in this room understand better than anyone that these attacks are real and the result of real families,” the president said before sitting down to sign the order. He specifically pointed to the arrest of 31 members of the white Patriot Front group last weekend near an Idaho pride event.

The actions listed in the order attempt to promote programs that better address suicide among LGBTQ children and seek to make adoption easier for LGBTQ parents and children.

“Don’t have the courage to be yourself,” said Jill Biden, who noted that it was a bit hot and humid in Washington’s sunny summer to host the event on the South Lawn. “We know that, in places across the country like Florida, Texas or Alabama, rights are being attacked. And we know that in small towns and big cities, prejudice and discrimination still lurk.”

Click to play video: 'Protesters gather on the steps of Florida State Capitol ahead of 'Don't Say Gay' bill debate

Protesters gather on the steps of the Florida State Capitol ahead of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill debate

Protesters gather on the steps of the Florida State Capitol ahead of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill debate – March 7, 2022

Among the state laws the White House has opposed is the so-called “No gay” measure in Florida, signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in March. It prevents guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity in preschool through third grade. Critics say it marginalized LGBTQ people and that the law sparked an open battle between the state and Walt Disney Co.

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Biden’s action creates a federal working group to help combat LGBTQ homelessness and a group that promotes educational policies for states and school districts that promote inclusive learning environments for children LGBTQ children. His order also establishes new rules to discourage conversion therapy, although efforts to enforce bans on it where state law allow it will depend on legal challenges from outside the White House.

While some Republican-led legislatures have supported conversion therapy, other states and communities have banned it. The American Psychological Association says conversion therapy is not based on science and is harmful to participants’ mental health.

The order goes on to instruct health officials to explain that federally funded programs cannot be used to fund conversion therapy. And it seeks to reduce barriers to health care and some forms of treatment for the LGBTQ community, including gender-affirming surgery.

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That follows an order in February from Republican Governor Greg Abbott directing Texas’ child welfare agency to investigate reports of sex-identified childcare as abusive. A judge has since issued an injunction halting investigations into three families and barring others.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Biden said. “In Texas, knocking door-to-door to harass and investigate parents raising transgender children. In Florida, go after Mickey Mouse for God’s sake. ”

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In previous orders, Biden sought to direct that gay and transgender people be protected from discrimination in schools, health care, housing and in the workplace. He ordered federal agencies to update and expand regulations banning gender discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and to rescind the ban on transgender people serving in the military.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden also continued to call on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as traits recognized guard. The measure has stalled on Capitol Hill, but the president said it is necessary to “respect the long overdue civil rights protections of all Americans, every American”.

Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed to this report.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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