GLAAD is monitoring the Biden administration’s executive orders, legislative support, speeches and nominations that affect LGBTQ people and rights.
04.26.2023 Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweets support for LGBTQ public servants and elevates first-ever Presidential proclamation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the “Lavender Scare”: “a decades-long period when 5,000 to 10,000 LGBTQI+ Federal employees were investigated, were interrogated, and lost their jobs simply because of who they were and whom they loved. On this anniversary, we acknowledge the importance of telling the complete history of our Nation, reflecting on the lives changed by this discrimination, honoring the courageous Americans who fought to end this injustice, and celebrating the contributions of today’s proud LGBTQI+ public servants — including members of our Armed Forces. Our Nation was founded on the sacred idea that all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated equally under our laws. But for so many members of the LGBTQI+ community, hate, discrimination, and isolation throughout our country’s history have denied them the full promise of America. The Lavender Scare epitomized — and institutionalized — this injustice. Great nations face their history openly and honestly: the good, the bad, and the truth. Today, we make our message simple to every public servant who suffered from the un-American policies and discrimination of the Lavender Scare: We see your sacrifices. We acknowledge what you lost and what you wrongfully endured. I have mandated my Administration to do all we can to write a new chapter of our American story that will demonstrate our abiding commitment to equal rights, respect for human dignity, and limitless opportunity for all.”
04.25.2023 Invites cast and creator of The L Word to White House press briefing in honor of Lesbian Visibility Week. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre introduced The L Word team: “as the first openly queer person to hold the position of Press Secretary for the President of the United States, I see every day how important visibility and representation are. Today I’m honored to welcome the cast of “The L Word” and “Generation Q,” two Showtime series that chronicle the friendship, the love, the challenges, and the triumphs of strong, funny, and resilient queer women.”
Show creator Ilene Chaiken spoke from the podium: “We’ve been fighting this fight for generations, and we’ll never stand down. They may try to erase our stories from classrooms and libraries, but we’re here. We’re here today at the White House. And we won’t be erased. We will continue to be visible, powerful, engaged, contributive, creative, loving American citizens… My colleagues and I want to wish President and Dr. Biden, Press Sec- — Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and her family, and each and every one of you an enlightened Lesbian Visibility Week, month, year, decade, century, and so on, and on and on.”
Star of The L Word Leisha Hailey: “I’m standing here today because, as a young gay girl in Nebraska who raced Soap Box Derby cars and wore rainbow suspenders, I was seen by my family. Their love and support gave me the courage and confidence to live my life openly. As an actor on “The L Word,” I have had the enormous honor and responsibility of being visible for over 20 years. But visibility is not just the act of being seen, it is the ability to see. So to the librarian in Texas advocating to keep books with LGBTQIA themes on the shelves, we see you. To the LGBTQIA people leading their communities as rabbis, pastors, and ministers, we see you. To the LGBTQIA community in Missouri about to lose their gender-affirming care, we see you. To the LGBTQIA community affected by the Dobbs decision in Idaho, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Tennessee, we see you. And to the first openly LGBTQIA press secretary, we see you. Visibility starts in our homes and our communities. And even if it feels like you’re under attack, know that we see you.”
04.24.2023 Speaks out against book bans at ceremony to honor nation’s best teachers, and noted their challenges, including gun violence and a growing movement to ban books about LGBTQ people.
Attempted book bans hit an all-time high in 2022. “I never thought, as a student of history, I’d be a president that’s fighting against elected officials banning books… Empty shelves don’t help kids learn very much. I’ve never met a parent who wants a politician dictating what their kid can learn, and what they can think, or who they can be.”
“Our schools should be places where everyone is safe and safe to be themselves. But across the country of late from our — some of our friends on the extreme right, LBG [LGBTQ] students and teachers are under attack from hateful laws. I’ve directed Secretary Cardona to strengthen protections of Title IX to protect both students and school employees from sexual assault, harassment, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Pres. Biden said parents and teachers should stand up against ”politicians who try to score political points by banning books.” The American Library Association noted a record number of book bans and challenges in 2022, the majority about LGBTQ people and people of color.
04.21.2023 Announces plans to appoint Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and transgender Middle Tennessee State University Professor Marisa Richmond to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. Kenyatta will serve as commission chair and Richmond as commission member, among a record-breaking number of LGBTQ appointees serving in the Biden-Harris administration.
04.17.2023 Vows veto if House majority bill targeting transgender students’ access to sports, in statement: “Instead of addressing the pressing issues that families and students face today—such as raising teacher pay, keeping guns out of schools, addressing the mental health crisis our youth face, and helping students learn and recover academically from unprecedented disruptions—Congressional Republicans have instead chosen to prioritize policies that discriminate against children. If the President were presented with H.R. 734, he would veto it.”
04.06.2023 Department of Education releases a notice of proposed rulemaking on athletic eligibility under Title IX, establishing that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students from participating on teams consistent with their gender identity. Announcement also notes “The proposed rule would provide schools with a framework for developing eligibility criteria that protects students from being denied equal athletic opportunity, while giving schools the flexibility to develop their own participation policies.”
04.01.2023 Hosts roundtable with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Amb. Susan Rice, and transgender youth and their families: “Transgender kids and their parents traveled to the White House from states that have attacked the rights of transgender kids, including Arizona, Texas, and Virginia, and shared the devastating effects these political attacks are having on their mental health and wellbeing. As one round table participant shared, it feels scary when the politicians elected to represent you don’t care about your wellbeing. Families participating in today’s roundtable also highlighted that transgender kids can thrive when parents love and affirm their transgender children, and when transgender kids have access to the support they need at school and in their communities.”
03.31.2023 Adm. Rachel Levine, HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, tweets statement: “As a proud transgender woman, I celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility by honoring the work that has brought attention to the greater acceptance of LGBTQI+ individuals… Despite the progress that has been made, the most vulnerable among us continue to suffer, including transgender women of color, transgender youth, transgender immigrants, and so many more. We must do more. We need to create healthy people, healthy communities, and a healthy nation for all.”
03.31.2023 Tweeted: “Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know. But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity. Today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, I renew my commitment to building a healthy, safe, free, and just future for trans people everywhere.”
03.31.2023 Releases statement for Transgender Day of Visibility, which reads in part: “we celebrate the strength, joy, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know. Transgender Americans deserve to be safe and supported in every community – but today, across our country, MAGA extremists are advancing hundreds of hateful and extreme state laws that target transgender kids and their families. No one should have to be brave just to be themselves.”
03.31.2023 Releases proclamation in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility, reading in part: “Today, we show millions of transgender and nonbinary Americans that we see them, they belong, and they should be treated with dignity and respect. Their courage has given countless others strength, but no one should have to be brave just to be themselves. Every American deserves that freedom.”
03.31.2023 Releases factsheet with new data on LGBTQ youth: “Today, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is releasing a new report providing the latest scientific research on supporting the mental health of LGBTQI+ youth. With the release of today’s report, SAMHSA is providing new resources to parents, teachers, and mental health providers to help them use evidence-based practices to affirm and support transgender and LGBTQI+ youth and their families.”
03.22.2023 White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks out about Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ bill, expressing “grave concerns” and “increasing violence against LGBTQIA+ community,” describing the Parliament-passed bill as “one of the most extreme actions taken against the LGBTQ community in the world.” On 4.20, Uganda’s president refuses to sign the bill and seeks changes to it.
03.20.2023 Issues statement against House majority’s so-called parental rights bill that broadens ability to ban LGBTQ-inclusive books: “The Administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school. Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The Administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education. It should deliver the resources that schools and families actually need.”
03.20.2023 Announces honorees for the National Medals of Arts, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, fashion designer Vera Wang; artist Judith Francisca Baca; painter Antonio Martorell-Cardona; arts educator and LGBTQI+ activist Fred Eychaner; musician José Feliciano; producer Joan Shigekawa; the Billie Holiday Theatre; and the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Eychaner, a media executive from Chicago, was honored: “From dance and architecture to arts education and a lifetime of LGBTQI+ advocacy, Fred Eychaner has helped give millions of people strength to be themselves and moved our country forward,” the National Endowment for the Arts stated. Elton John, one of Biden’s favorite musicians, is a 2021 recipient but received his medal when he performed at the White House last September.
03.16.2023 White House tweets to support LGBTQ people against barrage of state legislation targeting them: “In the face of this record number of anti-LGBTQI+ Bills, this Administration reaffirms its commitment to fighting for the safety and dignity of the LGBTQI+ community. We have your back.”
03.14.2023 Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweets: “Attacking parents THAT LOVE their kids for who they are isn’t who we are as a country. @POTUS won’t hesitate to call out this shameful behavior from elected officials.”
03.14.2023 Describes Florida legislation restricting LGBTQ rights as “cruel” and “close to sinful” in interview with Kal Penn for The Daily Show.
02.26.2023 Signs two executive orders to advance equity: “We have taken historic steps to advance full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, including by ending the ban on transgender service members in our military; prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics across Federal programs; and signing into law the Respect for Marriage Act (Public Law 117-228) to preserve protections for the rights of same-sex and interracial couples. My administration is also implementing the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to realize their full potential.” Chiraag Bains, Biden’s deputy assistant for racial justice and equity, said, “this is about racial equity, but it is about equity more broadly as well, and that includes for LGBTQI+ Americans as well.” Bains noted the timeliness of the new executive order as Republican state legislators have issued a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ bills, overwhelmingly targeting the transgender community. The order stipulates that “in September 2023, and on an annual basis thereafter, concurrent with the agencies’ submission to [the Office of Management and Budget] for the president’s budget, agency heads shall submit an Equity Action Plan to the Steering Committee.”
02.14.2023 Senate confirms Gina R. Mendez-Miró to be the U.S. district judge for the District of Puerto Rico, the first out judge to represent the district. The confirmations mark the 100th judicial nominations made by President Biden. According to data from the Federal Judicial Center compiled shortly before the confirmation, of the 97 of Biden’s nominees who have been confirmed, 47 were minority women and 19 were minority men, compared with 26 White women and five White men.
02.11.2023 Issues joint statement with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in support of LGBTQ and intersex rights: “Both leaders noted they continue to reject extremism and violence in politics, condemned hate speech, and reaffirmed their intention to build societal resilience to disinformation and agreed to work together on these issues. They discussed common objectives of advancing the human rights agenda through cooperation and coordination on such issues as social inclusion and labor rights, gender equality, racial equity and justice and the protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”
02.07.2023 In State of the Union Address, notes: “I have signed over 300 bipartisan laws since becoming President. From reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, to the Electoral Count Reform Act, to the Respect for Marriage Act that protects the right to marry the person you love… Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms… Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it. Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.”
02.07.2023 Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, advocates for marriage equality in Massachusetts leading it to become first in the nation to legalize marriage equality, are invited guests of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at President Biden’s State of the Union address. White House statement announcing guests notes: “They celebrated this victory by getting married on the first day that same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Massachusetts in 2004. In 2022, the Nortonsmiths introduced the President at the Respect for Marriage Act celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.”
02.06.2023 State Department spokesperson Ned Price responds to Pope Francis stating that being gay is not a crime. “His Holiness using his voice in this way is something that will be noticed by people and governments around the world,” Price told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing. “He obviously speaks with authority that perhaps no one else can. We welcome those remarks.”
01.24.2023 Releases the first-ever Federal Evidence Agenda on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Equity, a guide federal agencies will use to ensure they are collecting data and evidence they need to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTQI+ Americans.
01.03.2023 Renominated Gigi Sohn to serve as fifth commissioner on the FCC. Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow & Public Advocate, and a leading public advocate for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. She would be the first out commissioner in FCC history.
12.13.2022 Signs the Respect for Marriage Act into law on the South Lawn, enshrining protections for marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples. “This law and the love it defends strike a blow at hate and all its forms and that’s why this law matters to every single American,” Biden said. “My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long. But those who believed in equality and justice, you never gave up — many of you standing on the South Lawn here. So many of you put your relationships on the line, your jobs on the line, your lives on the line to fight for the law I’m about to sign. From me and the entire nation, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Invites thousands of couples and LGBTQ Americans and advocates to attend signing ceremony, including plaintiffs from marriage equality court cases fought and won including Prop 8 in California. Vice President Harris said: “I often reflect on the week of Valentine’s Day 2004, when I had the honor to stand in San Francisco City Hall and perform some of our country’s first marriages of same-sex couples. I saw tears of joy that day as people celebrated basic human rights: the right to be recognized as a family; the right to be with the person you love, whether at a military graduation, a hospital bedside, or a naturalization ceremony…For millions of LGBTQI+ Americans and interracial couples, this is a victory. And it is part of a larger fight. The Dobbs decision reminds us that fundamental rights are interconnected, including the right to marry who you love, the right to access contraception, and the right to make decisions about your own body… as the great Harvey Milk once said, I quote, “Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.” And because you made your voices heard, marriages are more secure and Joe Biden is our President. A President who elevated LGBTQI+ leaders to every level of our administration, who fights for the safety and freedom and dignity of all people every single day. “
12.8.2022 Tweets to announce release of Brittney Griner, with photos of Griner’s wife Cherelle, President Biden and Vice President Harris in the Oval Office: “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.” Invites Cherelle Griner to address White House press corps, saying: “it’s my job as President of the United States to make the hard calls and protect American citizens everywhere in the world. Anywhere in the world. And I’m proud that, today, we have made one more family whole again. So, welcome home, Brittney. And now I’d like invite Cherelle to say a few words to you all. Of course, she’s not excited at all about this. Cherelle, it’s all yours, kiddo. Congratulations again.”
12.01.2022 Issues updated strategy to combat HIV/AIDS and stigma; includes reaffirmation that potential future policy on blood donation screening is “rooted in science, not stigma” against gay, bi and other men who have sex with men; urges promoting greater access to gender-affirming care via Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; addresses action to prevent violence against transgender women of color and improved data collection of LGBTQ community to better serve needs.
12.01.2022 A large red ribbon hangs from the White House north portico to commemorate World AIDS Day as President Biden tweets: “On World AIDS Day, we raise a red ribbon to remember how far we’ve come, the work that’s left, and those devastated by this disease, particularly the LGBTQI+ folks and people of color who endured the brunt of this epidemic instead of being seen. Let’s finish this fight.”
12.01.2022 Issues Proclamation on World AIDS Day: “On World AIDS Day, we recommit to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world and rededicate ourselves to fighting the discrimination that too often keeps people with HIV from getting the services they need and living the full lives they deserve. It was long hard to imagine, but today, we are within striking distance of eliminating HIV transmission worldwide. Thanks to the incredible dedication of scientists, activists, health care workers, caregivers, and so many others, we have made enormous progress preventing, detecting, and treating HIV; reducing case counts and AIDS-related deaths; and freeing millions of people to enjoy long, healthy lives. Still, not everyone has equal access to that care. And for the more than 38 million people around the world now living with HIV — especially members of the LGBTQI+ community, communities of color, women, and girls — a diagnosis is still life-altering. We can do better.”
11.30.2022 Sends letter of condolence to families of people shot and killed in Colorado Springs LGBTQ club: “To the loved ones and families left behind, I know that nothing I write will fill the void of their absence or the pain of losing a part of your soul. While the grief never truly ends, know that you will never lose the love you have for them and the love they had for you. They will always be with you.” The letter also addressed the broader LGBTQ community: “Spaces like Club Q are safe havens for LGBTQI+ people, where they can feel seen and celebrated without fear of judgment or discrimination. The shooting on November 19th — the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance — once again revealed the ugly hatred that has motivated deadly attacks against LGBTQI+ people and the need to end the gun violence epidemic that has torn too many communities apart…. Let us stand together and give hate no safe harbor. Let us be there for one another. And let us heal these wounds and unite as one nation. No bullet will deter our never-ending work of perfecting our union — of building an America where everyone is safe, where the founding promise of equality is finally made real, and where all are accepted, loved, and celebrated for who they are.”
11.29.2022 Issues statement after Respect for Marriage Act passed last Senate votes: With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled. It will also ensure that, for generations to follow, LGBTQI+ youth will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own.
11.29.2022 Vice President Harris issues statement after Respect for Marriage Act Senate votes: Today, thanks to the hard work of Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and bipartisan colleagues, the Respect for Marriage Act is finally on its way to becoming law. I had the honor to perform some of our nation’s first same sex marriages at San Francisco City Hall in 2004, where couples celebrated not only a joyful union, but the protection and respect of fundamental human rights. The right to start a family and raise children. The right to be who you are, openly and proudly. The right to support the person you love, whether at a hospital bedside, a military deployment ceremony, or applying for citizenship. Our Administration stands for the fundamental right to marry the person you love and live free from discrimination. The Respect for Marriage Act ultimately stands for a simple principle: all Americans are equal and their government should treat them that way. Today, we are one step closer to achieving that ideal with pride.
11.24.2022 On Thanksgiving, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden call owners of LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs where five people were shot and killed in deadly mass shooting. The Bidens offered support and thanked Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes for the contributions the two have made to the LGBTQ+ community. President Biden said he has plans to support a bill banning assault rifles during the lame-duck session before the next Congress forms. “I’m going to do it whenever — I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes.”
11.21.2022 Secretary of State Blinken travels to Qatar, home of the 2022 World Cup and among a handful of countries where being LGBTQ is punishable by death. A State Department official on Friday said the U.S. has raised LGBTQ and intersex rights with the Qatari government.
11.20.2022 Issues statement after deadly shooting in Colorado Springs LGBTQ club: While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years. Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing. We saw it six years ago in Orlando, when our nation suffered the deadliest attack affecting the LGBTQI+ community in American history. We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color. And tragically, we saw it last night in this devastating attack by a gunman wielding a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often. We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”
11.20.2022 Issues statement to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance: There is no place for violence, hatred, and bigotry in America. Yet, tragically, as last night’s attack in Colorado Springs reminds us, too many LGBTQI+ people in the United States—and around the world—continue to face unconscionable attacks. This is especially true for transgender Americans. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor the 32 transgender Americans known to have been taken from us this year by horrific acts of brutality. The true toll is likely much higher, with Black and brown transgender women disproportionately targeted.
11.20.2022 Secretary of State Blinken issues statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance: On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the world pauses to remember the lives of the many transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons killed in acts of targeted, transphobic violence. On every continent, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons confront violence, harassment, and discrimination that shock the conscience, simply based on their gender identity or expression. For far too many, their own governments contribute to this stigma by denying access to justice, health, economic self-sufficiency, and community that are the hallmarks of inclusive and prosperous societies. We recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance because transgender persons are disproportionately represented among victims of violence around the world… Transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons have always been a part of our families, cultures, and nations. History teaches us that gender diversity is not new and that the strongest societies celebrate the intellectual and cultural contributions and creativity that come from diversity. As we mourn the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons who have paid the ultimate price for others’ hatred, we honor their memory by continuing the fight for a world free of transphobic and gender-based violence and discrimination. Everyone should be able to live a life that reflects and celebrates their truest self.”
11.16.2022 Issued statement upon passage of bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate for the Respect for Marriage Act: “Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. Today’s bipartisan vote brings the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law. The Respect for Marriage Act will ensure that LGBTQI+ couples and interracial couples are respected and protected equally under federal law, and provide more certainty to these families since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. I want to thank the Members of Congress whose leadership has sent a strong message that Republicans and Democrats can work together to secure the fundamental right of Americans to marry the person they love. I urge Congress to quickly send this bill to my desk where I will promptly sign it into law.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted: Proud of the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and this Administration for helping bring the Respect for Marriage Act one step closer to a reality.
10.13.2022 Veterans Affairs announces survivor benefits now extended to partners from relationships before marriage equality was legalized in 2015: “VA is closing a gap in benefits for surviving spouses of LGBTQ+ Veterans, righting a wrong that is a legacy of the discriminatory federal ban on same-sex marriages,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “It is VA’s mission to serve all Veterans—including LGTBQ+ Veterans—as they’ve served our country, and this decision is a key part of that effort.”
09.23.2022 LGBTQ legend Elton John headlines a concert on the White House lawn: “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” a reference to a poem by Seamus Heaney often quoted by President Biden. The 2,000 person guest list includes teachers, nurses, frontline workers and LGBTQ advocates, plus civil rights advocate Ruby Bridges and Jeanne White-Ginder, an AIDS activist and mother of Ryan White, who died from AIDS-related complications in 1990.
09.22.2022 President Biden reiterates his administration’s commitment to LGBTQ+ and intersex rights abroad in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly: “The future will be won by those countries that unleash the full potential of their populations, where women and girls can exercise equal rights, including basic reproductive rights and contribute fully to building stronger economies and more resilient societies, where religious and ethnic minorities can live their lives without harassment and contribute to the fabric of their communities, where the LGBTQ+ community, individuals live and love freely without being targeted with violence, where citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisal.”
9.22.2022 Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first out Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate, speaks out in support for the Respect for Marriage Act, in interview with the Texas Tribune. Buttigieg called out Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn for vowing to vote against the bill to codify marriage equality. “I’ve met both of your senators and your governor,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t know their spouses. I don’t really think about their marriages. But I can’t imagine a situation where I would attempt to undo one of their marriages. So what makes them think that they are fit to pronounce upon mine? The question now for all of us living in America in these times is: Did we just live to see the high-water mark of rights and freedoms?” Buttigieg also commented on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s nonbinding order to investigate parents of transgender children for providing evidence-based, best practices healthcare: “one minute they’re talking about parents’ rights, and next thing you know, they’re attacking parents, who when confronted with that sometimes disorienting and sometimes even frightening situation of your kid coming out to you, being in an incredibly vulnerable position trying to do the right thing for your kids and a government official wants to come and investigate you for trying to take care of your kids?” Buttigieg has been traveling across the country highlighting the Biden administration’s $550 billion infrastructure bill. Texas will receive $27 billion for roads and bridges, $3.4 billion for public transportation, $1.2 billion for airports and more than $400 million to install chargers for electric vehicles.
09.19.2022 Secretary of State Blinken speaks at the LGBTI Core Group, U.N. countries that have pledged to support LGBTQ and intersex rights, noting the meeting took place at “a time when the movement for equality is showing some encouraging momentum,” including decriminalization of consensual same-sex relationships in St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda. Sec. Blinken also noted people worldwide continue to experience alarming levels of violence, discrimination, isolation, with high risk for people with disabilities, people of color, refugees and LGBTQI+ women. “Transgender people are often denied access to legal identity documents that reflect their names and gender markers. Intersex people, including minors, continue to be subjected to unnecessary surgeries without their consent.” Blinken said that members of the U.N. LGBTI Core Group and countries around the world “have work to do to ensure that LGBTQI+ people have the same rights, the same protections as all other people.”
09.17.2022 Meets with Cherelle Griner, wife of basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February.
09.15.2022 LGBTQ and gun safety advocate Brandon Wolf introduces Vice President Harris at the White House’s “United We Stand” summit. Wolf is a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016, which killed 49 people, most of whom were LGBTQ and Latinx. Vice President Harris told Wolf: “Your courage, born out of such a violent tragedy, has been consistent and enduring. Long after the cameras left the scene of that horrific crime, you have used your voice to represent the voices of so many. Consistently you have been doing this work. You inspire so many of us, and I thank you for your leadership.” Since 2020, hate crimes in the United States have increased to their highest rate in over a decade. FBI statistics for the year show that 20 percent of hate crimes nationally were motivated by sexual orientation. Crimes motivated by gender identity were at 2.7 percent, up from 0.5 percent in previous years.
9.15.2022 National Monkeypox Virus (MPV) Response Deputy Coordinator Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, longtime HIV and LGBTQ health advocate, speaks out to Politico on the parallels between HIV and MPV in public health: “if I crack the code to getting young black and Latino, [men who have sex with men], gay, bisexual or transgender folks or gender diversity folks ….to get the vaccine,” he says trailing off but implying: If he effectively reaches this community, it could be a game changer for HIV prevention, too. He says before he started the job, Biden specifically told him he wanted to make sure the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ members of color didn’t repeat with monkeypox.
09.01.2022 Delivers speech to highlight the dangers of extremism for LGBTQ people and all Americans: “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”
08.04.2022 Issues statement on the sentencing of basketball star of Brittney Griner, who is detained in Russia, and in support of her wife: “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
08.02.2022 Appoints Dr. Demetre Daskalakis as National Monkeypox Virus Response Deputy Coordinator: “Widely known as a national expert on health issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ communities, his clinical practice has focused on providing care for the underserved LGBTQIA+ communities. He previously oversaw management of infectious diseases for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of the largest departments in the nation – including in serving as incident commander for the City’s COVID-19 response.”
07.19.2022 Office of Management and Budget issues statement in support of the “Respect for Marriage Act”: “The right to marriage confers vital legal protections, dignity and full participation in our society. No person should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love, and every married couple in the United States deserves the security of knowing that their marriage will be defended and respected.”
06.29.2022 Announces first phase of national monkeypox vaccine strategy, noting “The Administration is grateful for the leadership and activism of advocates in the LGBTQI+ community who have thus far been most affected and have quickly mobilized to promote information and awareness.”
06.24.2022 National Security Council advisers host virtual roundtable with global LGBTQ human rights activists as part of White House celebration of Pride Month. Participants highlighted resilience of LGBTQ community, incremental gains and increasing repression, and “sustained societal discrimination, violence, and criminalization” as well as “increasing online attacks and state surveillance.” Jessica Stern, U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons; Jay Gilliam, USAID Senior Coordinator for LGBTQI+ Issues, joined Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer and senior members of NSC staff.
07.01.2022 Announces out soccer star and equality advocate Megan Rapinoe will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The announcement notes Rapinoe “is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.” The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.
07.01.2022 Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre releases statement as Florida’s “Don’t Say LGBTQ” law goes into effect: Today, some of Florida’s most vulnerable students and families are more fearful and less free. As the state’s shameful “Don’t Say Gay” law takes effect, state officials who claim to champion liberty are limiting the freedom of their fellow Americans simply to be themselves. Already, there have been reports that “Safe Space” stickers are being taken down from classrooms. Teachers are being instructed not to wear rainbow clothing. LGBTQI+ teachers are being told to take down family photos of their husbands and wives—cherished family photos like the ones on my own desk… President Biden has been very clear that every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. The Department of Education will be monitoring this law, and any student or parent who believes they are experiencing discrimination is encouraged to file a complaint with the Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Our Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family—in Florida and around the country.”
06.28.2022 HHS announces national strategy to combat the monkeypox virus (MPV), expanding vaccination for individuals at risk and make testing more convenient for healthcare providers and patients across the country. The White House announcement notes “The Administration is grateful for the leadership and activism of advocates in the LGBTQI+ community who have thus far been most affected and have quickly mobilized to promote information and awareness.”
06.23.2022 President Biden commemorates the 50th anniversary of Title IX with a statement that read in part, “As we look to the next fifty years, I am committed to protecting this progress and working to achieve full equality, inclusion, and dignity for women and girls, LGBTQI+ Americans, all students, and all Americans.” In a tweet, Biden also explicitly pointed to protections for LGBTQ students. “I’ll continue to fight for the promise of Title IX – that every woman and girl can pursue her education and dreams free from discrimination, and every LGBTQI+ student is protected,” wrote Biden.
06.23.2022 On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 1972 law that banned sex discrimination in schools, the Department of Education released a new proposed rule that strengthens protections for all students—including LGBTQ students—against sexual harassment and discrimination. Without changing Title IX itself, the rule clarifies what the law covers, including sexual harassment and violence, sex stereotyping, pregnancy, and explicit clarification that “Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sex apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” according to a fact sheet issued by DoE. The agency also posted main takeaways from the proposed rule on Twitter, where it was met with transphobic comments by anti-LGBTQ activists.
06.15.2022 Invites LGBTQ advocates to a Pride Month reception at the White House and signs “Executive Order Advancing Equality for LGBTQI+ Individuals.” The order strengthens protections against state-level anti-LGBTQ policies through guidance to the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services, directs agencies to fight conversion therapy, safeguards access to healthcare for LGBTQ people and transgender youth especially, expands data collection on LGBTQ populations, and more. A full list of the order’s mandates are listed in a White House announcement.
06.01.2022 The LGBTQ Pride flag was raised at several federal agency buildings and U.S. embassies. Flags were raised at the Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the General Services Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence among others. While embassies are likely to report raising Pride flags throughout the month, some were raised on June 1—including at the embassies to China, the UK, Luxembourg, the Bahamas, Haiti, and at the Holy See (Vatican.) Some embassies, such as the U.S. Embassy in India, went as far as lighting the building exterior in rainbow colors.
06.01.2022 The White House released a Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, And Intersex Pride Month signed by President Joe Biden. The statement decried “relentless attacks” on the American LGBTQ community, pointing to “an onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ legislation [which] has been introduced and passed in States across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care.” The statement also reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to advancing LGBTQ equality, and listed several of the steps it has taken. Biden posted part of the statement on Twitter, and Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted separately that Pride Month serves as “a reminder that the fight for full LGBTQI+ rights continues.”
05.17.2022 In a statement observing International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), President Joe Biden offered “support and solidarity” to LGBTQ people around the world. Biden noted the progress made in equality for LGBTQ people, but also condemned rising anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the U.S. and abroad. “Make no mistake: hateful legislative attacks against members of our own LGBTQI+ community cannot be tolerated in America or anywhere else,” said Biden. “They spur discrimination and can stoke violence. And they are rooted in the same ignorance and intolerance that we see around the world. Hate is hate—and all of us have a responsibility to speak out against hate wherever we find it.
05.17.2022 Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken issued a statement in observance of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). In the statement, Blinken affirmed that LGBTQ people around the world are subject to the same basic human rights as anyone else. “Too many LGBTQI+ persons live under the shadow of discrimination, violence, and fear,” said Blinken. “Global data makes clear that the dehumanization of LGBTQI+ persons is systemic, pervasive, and often violent. Homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, and transphobia are deeply entrenched in societies across the world, including here in the United States. Countless persons are at extreme risk for being themselves.”
05.16.2022 On her first day serving as White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre remarked on the historic significance of her role at her first official press briefing. “I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts,” said Jean-Pierre. “I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position. I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barriers — barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders. If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me, I would not be here.”
05.05.2022 Karine Jean-Pierre promoted to White House Press Secretary and Assistant to the President, the first Black woman and first out queer person of color to serve as Press Secretary. “Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.” Outgoing Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted: “Representation matters and [Jean-Pierre] will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”
05.04.2022 The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened new investigations into three religious schools accused of discriminating against LGBTQ students, adding to similar investigations opened earlier this year against three other colleges. All six investigations were opened in response to complaints from students filed with the help of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP). The schools under investigation are Liberty University, La Sierra University, Azusa Pacific University, Clarks Summit University, Lincoln Christian University, and Colorado Christian University. According to letters sent to REAP by the Education Department, all six schools are being investigated for possible violations of Title IX for discrimination against LGBTQ students.
05.01.2022 Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Rachel Levine travels to Texas to urge doctors and medical students to speak up for transgender and gender diverse youth and against discriminatory legislation targeting their healthcare. “What I’m asking is for medical students and physicians throughout the country is to get involved… Gender affirming care is mental health care. Gender affirming care is suicide prevention care. It is based on decades of study. It is a well-established medical practice.” Levine spoke at the annual Out for Health Conference, a gathering organized by health science and medical students in Texas, held this year at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Levine originally was to speak at the conference remotely. Major medical groups like the American Medical Association recognize and support evidence-based, gender-affirming care for patients under 18.
04.29.2022 The U.S. Department of Justice initiated a lawsuit against the state of Alabama over its law criminalizing gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. The complaint, which is filed on behalf of several anonymized Alabama transgender youth and their parents, also names Governor Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall, and several local district attorneys, states that Alabama’s healthcare ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Gov. Ivey signed the ban into law on April 8th.
04.28.2022 The U.S. Department of State released its first-annual report on the U.S. government’s implementation of President Biden’s February 2021 Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons (LGBTQI+) Around the World. The report articulates how each federal agency, office, and program with a foreign policy objective worked to implement the new guidance, including the State Department, Development Finance Corporation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps, Department of Treasury, Export-Import Bank of the United States, United States Agency for International Development, and United States Trade Representative.
04.27.2022 Nominates Ana Reyes, an attorney at the D.C-based law firm Williams & Connolly LLP, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, making her the first Hispanic woman and the first out lesbian who would ever serve on the court. In the announcement, the White House notes Reyes’ nomination continues to “fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”
04.27.2022 The White House hosted a roundtable with lesbian leaders from the federal government and advocacy groups in honor of Lesbian Visibility Day. Present at the roundtable discussion were Ambassador Chantale Wong, Director of the Asian Development Bank; Admiral Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health; White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; Deputy White House Communications Director Pili Tobar; Charlotte Clymer, Transgender Activist, Military Veteran, and Board Member, LPAC Action Network; Desireé Luckey, Director of Policy, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE); Dr. Imani Woody, Founder and CEO, Mary’s House for Older Adults; and Joanne N. Smith, President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). The roundtable was hosted by White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein. Participants discussed the unique barriers and challenges facing lesbians including healthcare, mental health, anti-LGBTQ state legislation, discrimination, and economic and housing issues. Photos from the event were posted to Twitter by White House Associate Director of Public Engagement Hannah Bristol and by Tobar.
04.21.2022 White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz responded to the Florida Department of Health’s guidance denying gender-affirming healthcare to transgender youth. On Twitter, Munoz wrote: “Across the country, some officials have sought to strip away the freedom and safety of transgender children and their parents, including depriving kids of the health care they need. These actions—including yesterday’s recommendations from the Florida Department of Health that transgender children should be denied access to life saving care—are government overreach at its worst, and make clear the hypocrisy of these officials’ commitment to parental rights. What parents really want is the right to make informed health care decisions that are in the best interest of their child, and for their elected officials to focus on real issues, like addressing the crisis of youth mental health and keeping our schools open.” The entire thread referenced moves by President Biden and HHS to speak up in support of trans youth.
04.20.2022 In response to the Florida Health Department guidance denying necessary healthcare for transgender youth, HHS spokesperson Sarah Lovenheim issued a statement reading, “HHS stands with transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families—and the significant majority of expert medical associations—in unequivocally stating that gender affirming care for minors, when medically appropriate and necessary, improves their physical and mental health.” Lovenheim posted the statement in a graphic on Twitter, adding, “We are committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caretakers and families.”
04.14.2022 The Biden administration announces national equity action plan to improve opportunity for the LGBTQ community, communities of color, as well as women and girls, faith, tribal, disability, and rural communities. Among more than 300 commitments and strategies to address inequity across the federal government, the Department of Veterans Affairs announces it is “advancing health equity by further addressing the social and economic determinants of health for underserved veterans, including veterans of color, women veterans, and LGBTQI+ veterans.”
04.13.2022 U.S. Air Force informs its hundreds of thousands of personnel that it will provide families with medical and legal help if they are personally affected by new state laws attacking LGBTQ children, and help service members move from those states if they feel they must for the sake of their kids’ mental or physical health. In a memo issued March 24th, the Air Force also reminds of assignment, medical, legal and other resources available to support Airmen, Guardians and their families. “The health, care and resilience of our DAF personnel and their families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to our ability to accomplish the mission,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones. “We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families. Medical, legal resources, and various assistance are available for those who need them.”
04.07.2022 Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tweets a message of support to LGBTQ youth: “HHS is committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caregivers, families, and their doctors. I know that many youth and their families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks—and I want them to know we see you, we support you and we are with you. HHS is closely monitoring the situation in the states, and will use every tool at our disposal to keep our kids and doctors safe.”
04.07.2022 During the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “Across the country, Republican elected officials are engaging in a disturbing, cynical trend of attacking vulnerable transgender kids for purely partisan political reasons. Today in Alabama, instead of focusing on critical kitchen table issues like the economy, Covid, or addressing the country’s mental health crisis, Republican lawmakers are currently debating legislation that among many things would target trans youth with tactics that threaten to put pediatricians in prison if they provide medically necessary, lifesaving healthcare for the kids they serve. Just like the extreme government overreach we’ve seen in Texas, where politicians have sent state officials into the homes of loving parents to investigate them for abuse just to harass and intimidate the LGBTQI+ community, today’s vote in Alabama will only serve to harm kids. But Alabama’s lawmakers, and other legislators who are contemplating these discriminatory bills, have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that healthcare professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law. To be clear, every major medical association agrees that gender-affirming healthcare for transgender kids is a best practice and potentially lifesaving. All of this begs and important question: what are these policies actually trying to solve for? LGBTQI+ people can’t be erased or forced back into any closets, and kids across our nation should be allowed to be who they are without the threat that their parents or their doctor could be imprisoned simply for helping them and loving them. President Biden has committed in both words and actions to fight for all Americans, and will not hesitate to hold these states accountable.”
03.31.2022 The Department of Justice sent a letter to all state Attorneys General across the U.S., warning that state efforts to restrict access to healthcare for transgender youth violates the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The letter, signed by the Civil Rights Division’s Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, also stated that several federal laws contain nondiscrimination clauses that must be met by states in order to receive federal funding, including Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, Title IX, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, and Section 504 the Rehabilitation Act. The DOJ also warned of the potential for legal action, ending the letter with “any retaliatory conduct may give rise to an independent legal claim under the protections described above.”
03.31.2022 The Social Security Administration announced that it would begin to allow self-attestation in changing social security records, no longer requiring legal and medical documentation to change sex on records. A White House factsheet explained that the move would “significantly improve transgender individuals’ experience in accessing their retirement benefits, obtaining health care, and applying for jobs.”
03.31.2022 The Office of Safe and Supportive Schools in the Department of Education announced expanded training programs for school officials on the unique needs of transgender and nonbinary students.
03.31.2022 The Department of Health and Human Services added updates to its LGBTQ health & wellness webpage to include more resources for transgender youth, their parents, and their providers. In a statement, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine said in part, “Together we must strongly advocate for the most underserved and marginalized in our community, including our trans youth and their families.”
03.31.2022 Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tweets: On this International #TransDayofVisibility, I say to our transgender communities: we see you, we stand with you, and we will be there for you. For the first time in history, the transgender flag is flying in front of a federal agency, HHS’s Hubert Humphrey building. Discrimination against transgender people has no place in this country.
03.31.2022 State Department announces that Americans will have option to choose gender neutral ‘X’ on their passports. White House statement: “This is a major step in delivering on the President’s commitment to expand access to accurate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans. Information on how to apply will be available at travel.state.gov/gender. Secretary of State Blinken tweets: “U.S. citizens will be able to select X as their gender market on their U.S. passport book starting April 11. As we mark Transgender Day of Visibility, we mark this historic moment at the State Department as a meaningful step towards LGBTQI+ inclusivity.” Sec. Blinken also released a statement of support for transgender people around the world: transgender rights are human rights. We celebrate the achievements and resilience of transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming persons around the world. We recognize their bravery in their hard-fought work for equality, inclusion, and the full recognition of their human rights. We celebrate the diverse expressions of gender and the full diversity of gender identities around the world… Transgender persons must be able to live free from violence, discrimination, and stigma. We call on governments and other partners around the globe to join us in fighting for a world in which everyone can live safely and openly as themselves. We will not waver in our commitment to upholding the human rights of transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming persons worldwide.”
03.31.2022 Department of Homeland Security announces updates to TSA screenings, including “updates to Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners with new technology that will increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates and pat-downs for the traveling public. By replacing the current, gender-based system with this more accurate technology, TSA will improve the customer experience of transgender travelers who have previously been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. This new technology will help to improve the experience of travelers, particularly those who are transgender and non-binary travelers. TSA will begin deploying this new technology in airports throughout the country later this year.”
03.30.2022 President Biden issues proclamation for Transgender Day of Visibility, commemorated on March 31st every year: “On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people. We celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality. We acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our Nation and around the world. Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving. Like never before, they are sharing their stories in books and magazines; breaking glass ceilings of representation on television and movie screens; enlisting — once again — to serve proudly and openly in our military; getting elected and making policy at every level of government; and running businesses, curing diseases, and serving our communities in countless other ways. Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity. Transgender women and girls — especially transgender women and girls of color — continue to face epidemic levels of violence, and 2021 marked the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans. Each of these lives lost was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. We must honor their lives with action by advancing equity and civil rights for all transgender people… My entire Administration is committed to ensuring that transgender people enjoy the freedom and equality that are promised to everyone in America.”
03.30.2022 Releases details of fiscal year budget 2022 with “historic investments to support underserved communities and combat racial disparities across the Nation, including in health, education, and economic opportunity.” Includes plan to expand access to HIV prevention and care programs and support services, including improved access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Medicaid beneficiaries, expected to “improve health and lower Medicaid costs for HIV treatment.” $519 million is allotted to support domestic violence survivors and fund resource centers, including those that support the LGBTQI+ community. “The Budget also provides resources for new programs to support transgender survivors, build community-based organizational capacity, combat online harassment and abuse, and address emerging issues in gender-based violence.”
03.24.2020 Announces additional humanitarian aid for Ukraine and states: “We remain committed to ensuring those affected by President Putin’s war of aggression, especially vulnerable populations such as women, children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons, and persons with disabilities, are able to access food, clean water, shelter, and medical care.”
03.16.2022 President Biden signs omnibus government spending package, which includes reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. It includes expanded protections and creates the first grant program dedicated to expanding and developing initiatives specifically for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. At the signing event, President Biden said, “No one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should experience abuse. Period. And if they do they should have the service and support to get through it, and we’re not going to rest.”
03.08.2020 During White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki addresses discriminatory legislation in state legislatures, including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” bill and Texas’ investigations of families of transgender children: “the steps we’ve seen in Texas and Florida are deeply concerning and are having — are discriminating against exactly the kind of kids who we need to be loving and supporting. And we’ve seen — and I reference Florida because, as you know, they just recently passed a similar hateful bill that hurt some of the students most in need. In terms of any legal actions, I’d obviously point you to the Department of Justice. But I would just note that the President, the Secretary of Education, many members of the administration have spoken out about the discriminatory nature of these bills and our deep concerns about the message they’re sending to LGBTQ kids and families.”
03.08.2022 In response to the Florida legislature’s ‘Don’t Say Gay/trans’ bill, which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in school, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued the following statement: “Parents across the country are looking to national, state, and district leaders to support our nation’s students, help them recover from the pandemic, and provide them the academic and mental health supports they need. Instead, leaders in Florida are prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need. The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported.” The Department of Education also posted a tweet saying: “Today, @SecCardona reiterates that ED stands with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida & across the country, and that all schools receiving federal funding must follow Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity.”
03.03.2022 In response to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signing an immediate ban on transgender youth participating in school sports, White House Gender Policy Council Director Jen Klein posted the following statement to Twitter: “In the United States of America, kids should be free to play sports, free of discrimination. Period.”
03.02.2022 President Biden releases statement of support for transgender children and announces actions from Health and Human Services in response to Texas’ “cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents,” calling it “government overreach at its worst.”
“Respected medical organizations have said that access to gender-affirming care for transgender children can benefit mental health, lower suicide rates, and improve other health outcomes. Children, their parents, and their doctors should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that are best for each young person—without politicians getting the way. In the United States of America, we respect the rights and dignity of all families. Transgender children bring fulfillment to their parents, joy to their friends, and are made in the image of God. Affirming a transgender child’s identity is one of the best things a parent, teacher, or doctor can do to help keep children from harm, and parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized.”
03.02.2022 HHS releases statement from Secretary Xavier Becerra “reaffirming HHS’s commitment to supporting and protecting transgender youth and their parents, caretakers and families” against attacks from the Texas government: “These actions are clearly dangerous to the health of transgender youth in Texas. At HHS, we listen to medical experts and doctors, and they agree with us, that access to affirming care for transgender youth is essential and can be life-saving. HHS is committed to protecting young Americans who are targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and supporting their parents, caretakers and families. That is why I directed my team to evaluate the tools at our disposal to protect trans and gender diverse youth in Texas, and today I am announcing several steps we can take to protect them. HHS will take immediate action if needed. I know that many youth and their supportive families are feeling scared and isolated because of these attacks. HHS is closely monitoring the situation in Texas, and will use every tool at our disposal to keep Texans safe. Any individual or family in Texas who is being targeted by a child welfare investigation because of this discriminatory gubernatorial order is encouraged to contact our Office for Civil Rights to report their experience.”
03.01.2022 Urges passage of the Equality Act and supports transgender youth in first State of the Union as President: “For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is simply wrong. As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”
02.25.2022 As Russia invades Ukraine, a Biden administration official tells the Washington Blade that the U.S. has “engaged directly” with LGBTQ Ukrainians and other vulnerable populations to “direct them to programs that offer emergency assistance to address relocation, medical expenses or other unexpected costs” and “engaged with allies and partners to try to ensure that those who must flee Ukraine have somewhere to go.” The official noted that “based on Russia’s past behavior, it is reasonable to expect that Russia’s authorities would target those who oppose or are perceived to oppose the Russian government’s actions or policies, and/or belong to groups of persons targeted for repression inside Russia. The aforementioned would include leading Ukrainian officials, Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, independent journalists, anti-corruption activists, vulnerable populations such as members of some religious and ethnic groups, and LGBTQI+ persons… We are also concerned about the safety of persons with disabilities in any conflict situation…and will continue to warn groups in the categories we think could be targeted based on our understanding of Russia’s past behavior and our knowledge of Russia’s plans in order to enable them to protect themselves or move to places where they might be safer.”
02.25.2022 Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, pediatrician and first out transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate, explains facts about gender-affirming care and debunks Texas’ elected officials’ memo: “The move is a dangerous one that targets and politicizes evidence-based treatment that should be considered the standard of care,” Levine told TODAY. “I was very concerned by the actions that were taken in Texas. Trans youth are vulnerable. They are at risk of bullying and harassment. So we need to nurture them, we need to empower them. And, critically, they need access to this evidence-based, standard of care, gender-affirming treatment. Any suggestion that that’s child abuse is entirely wrong and actually egregious.”
02.23.2022 At the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answered a question about Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s call to investigate parents of transgender children, saying, “There are efforts in some states, not just Texas but also Florida and unfortunately others, designed to target and attack the kids who need support the most—LGBTQI+ students who are already vulnerable to bullying and violence just for being themselves. This isn’t an isolated action, as is evidenced by multiple states pursuing this. We’re seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be.”
02.23.2022 In response to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion inaccurately declaring that gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth is “child abuse” under state law, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karinne Jean-Pierre gave the following statement to Dallas Morning News: “Conservative officials in Texas and other states across the country should stop inserting themselves into health care decisions that create needless tension between pediatricians and their patients. No parent should face the agony of a politician standing in the way of accessing life-saving care for their child.” In the same article, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, a Biden appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “Our nation’s leading pediatricians support evidence-based, gender affirming care for transgender young people. HHS stands with transgender youth and their medical providers.”
02.08.2022 Releases statement and tweets to speak out against Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill prohibiting teachers from discussing LGBTQ people and issues in schools: “Today, conservative politicians in Florida advanced legislation designed to attack LGBTQI+ kids. Instead of making growing up harder for young people, @POTUS is focused on keeping schools open and supporting students’ mental health.”
02.08.2022 Also in response to Florida and other states advancing anti-LGBTQ legislation targeting youth, President Biden tweeted: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”
02.08.2022 Senate confirms Chantale Wong as director of the Asian Development Bank. Wong becomes the first out LGBTQ person of color and the first out lesbian to hold the rank of U.S. ambassador. The White House statement announcing Amb. Wong’s nomination described her as “a leading authority in international development policy with over 30 years of experience in the multi-disciplinary field that includes finance, technology, and the environment.”
02.07.2022 In response to South Dakota passing the year’s first anti-transgender law banning transgender youth from participating in school sports, White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz gave the following statement to The 19th: “These anti-transgender bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation and undermine our nation’s core values. These bills don’t keep kids safe — they put children and their families at risk of bullying and discrimination and, according to one recent study, damage the mental wellbeing of young people who deserve love and support.” Munoz added: “The Biden-Harris Administration will keep fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect that all LGBTQI+ Americans deserve.”
02.07.2022 The White House recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a post remembering the activism of Reggie Williams, whose death is memorialized on this day. To mark the occasion, a section of the AIDS quilt featuring Williams and other Black community members taken by the disease was placed on display in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building located next to the West Wing.
01.24.2022 Social Security Administration will hear benefits claims from surviving partners in same-sex relationships, whose partner died before marriage equality was legal. SSA had dropped the previous administration’s appeal to reject such claims in the federal lawsuit Thornton v Commissioner of Social Security. SSA: “surviving partners of same-sex relationships who file after November 25, 2020, and allege that unconstitutional state laws prevented them from marrying before the numberholder’s death will receive additional consideration pursuant to the decision in Thornton.” The Social Security Administration now allows LGBTQ people to receive survivor’s benefits if they can show that they were in a committed relationship and would have married had that been possible. The change could mean greater economic protection for LGBTQ people, 22% of whom overall live in poverty.
01.20.2022 Senate confirms Holly Thomas as a judge for the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Judge Thomas is the second black woman ever to serve on the nation’s largest appellate court. As special counsel to the New York Solicitor General in 2015, Thomas filed an amicus brief in federal court challenging North Carolina’s since-overturned law banning transgender and nonbinary people from using the restroom aligned with their gender identity.
01.18.2022 Responds to calls to overturn deferral period and discriminatory screening for LGBTQ blood donors, as Red Cross declares national blood shortage crisis: “The legacy of bans on blood donation continues to be painful, especially for LGBTQI+ communities,” the White House official told ABC News in a statement. “The President is committed to ensuring that this policy is based on science, not fiction or stigma. While there are no new decisions to announce at the moment, the FDA is currently supporting the ‘ADVANCE’ study, a scientific study to develop relevant scientific evidence and inform any potential policy changes.”
01.05.2022 Health and Human Services proposes rule change to reinstate and expand protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Affordable Care Act. The proposal amends regulations so that healthcare exchanges, issuers, and agents and brokers are prohibited from discriminating, including denying coverage for gender-affirming care.
12.18.2021 Senate confirms Rufus Gifford, former ambassador to Denmark, as chief of protocol for the U.S. State Department, a position that will once again give him the rank of ambassador. The chief of protocol for the State Department is responsible for being on the frontlines of engagement in U.S. foreign policy, which means being the gateway between foreign leaders and the president. Gifford tweeted: “I am humbled & reminded that gay people were routinely denied security clearances in the US as recently as 1995. As a twice confirmed Ambassador, I think about my predecessors denied these opportunities. Progress”
12.09.2021 Announces Gautam Raghavan, a gay Indian-American, will be the highest-ranking out member of the White House staff when he advances to director of the Office of Presidential Personnel. White House statement notes that during the Obama-Biden Administration, “Raghavan served in the White House Office of Public Engagement as liaison to the LGBTQ community as well as the Asian American & Pacific Islander community, as Acting White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense, and as Outreach Lead for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. A first-generation immigrant, Raghavan was born in India, raised in Seattle, and graduated from Stanford University. He is the editor of “West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House.” He lives with his husband and their daughter in Washington, D.C.”
12.09.2021 Out former Atlanta city official Reese Adams McCranie appointed Senior Advisor for the Office of Public Affairs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Prior to his appointment, McCranie worked for the City of Atlanta for 12 years, most recently as Deputy Chief Equity Officer for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and served as Director of Policy and Communications at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from 2013-2018. McCranie is a member of GLAAD’s Board of Directors.
12.07.2021 Senate confirms Chris Magnus as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Magnus will be the first out commissioner of the federal government’s largest law enforcement agency. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alexander Mayorkas swore in Commissioner Magnus on December 13th and DHS noted in its announcement that “Commissioner Magnus was joined by his husband, Terrance Cheung, Deputy Commissioner Troy Miller, Executive Assistant Commissioner Benjamine Huffman, CBP Chief of Staff Lise Clavel, and members of the DHS and CBP workforce.”
12.06.2021 Jay Gilliam appointed senior LGBTQI+ coordinator at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Gilliam told the Washington Blade that he will work to ensure USAID is “giving rightful attention to all parts of our community, the L, the G, the B, the T, the Q and I and all those along the spectrum so that we can really understand and help and support and get people or maybe more attention to those that haven’t gotten it yet…. I always like to think about it from my own perspective of being black and gay and sitting in many different communities and seeing the way that I am included or not included in that work. And I think about that in relation to the needs from the global LGBTQI+ community and the way that they might have multiple identities that include privileges, that include being marginalized by broader society.” USAID administrator Samantha Power tweeted: “With decades of global human rights experience, including many years at USAID and @HRC, Jay has trained advocates across the globe to advance LGBTQI+ equality. We’re thrilled to have his expertise in this role.”
12.01.2021 Issues statement to commemorate World AIDS Day and includes LGBTQ people as survivors, in acknowledgement about the coronavirus impact on efforts against HIV: “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted every aspect of the HIV/AIDS response, from prevention to treatment to research, the United States is redoubling efforts to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic and achieve equitable access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment in every community—particularly for communities of color, adolescent girls and young women, and the LGBTQI+ community.”
Released new National HIV/AIDS Strategy with the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by 2030, by incorporating latest data on HIV incidence; expanding focus of social determinants of health that influence HIV risk or outcomes; and encouraging reform of state HIV criminalization laws.
President Biden wore a red ribbon on his lapel, tweeting it’s “a reminder of how far we’ve come, the work we have left, and the price we paid along the way. Ending the HIV epidemic is within our reach, and my Administration is committed to finishing this work.”
A large red ribbon, the symbol of HIV solidarity and awareness, was placed over the White House north portico. First Lady Jill Biden tweeted: “Honored to continue this tradition on #WorldAidsDay, remembering the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and supporting those living with the virus across the world.”
11.20.2021 Issues statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance: “This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country—and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence. Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people—disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls—who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment… To ensure that our government protects the civil rights of transgender Americans, I charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people. I continue to call on state leaders and lawmakers to combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children. As I have said before, these bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation, they are un-American, and they endanger the safety and well-being of our children. I also continue to urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act so that all people are able to live free from fear and discrimination.”
The White House also hosted a first of its kind vigil to honor the transgender and gender diverse people killed this year. Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff lit 46 candles in the Diplomatic Room of the White House to represent the lives lost in the U.S. and a 47th candle to represent trans lives around the world.
11.20.2021 Releases report from the White House Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals. The report highlights over 45 key, early actions the administration is taking to address the root causes of anti-transgender violence, discrimination, and denial of economic opportunity, including expanding access to accurate and inclusive federal documents, expanding resources for trans youth in foster care, and updating research on the harms of so-called “conversion therapy.” The steps are a result of 15 listening sessions with trans and gender diverse people, advocates and civil rights leaders from across the country.
11.18.2021 Health and Human Services, via the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announces it will rescind “inappropriate, overly broad waivers issued by the prior Administration.” The waivers were issued to South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan and some child welfare agencies in those states, allowing taxpayer-funded agencies to ignore protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “HHS will not condone the blanket use of religious exemptions against any person or blank checks to allow discrimination against any persons, importantly including LGBTQ+ persons in taxpayer-funded programs,” HHS’ statement read in part.
11.17.2021 Announces nomination of out lesbian Alison Nathan, currently a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit. The statement notes that Nathan would be the second out woman “to serve on any federal circuit court. The first is current Second Circuit Judge Beth Robinson from Vermont, who was nominated by President Biden earlier this year and confirmed by the Senate on November 1, 2021.”
10.27.2021 Department of State announces it has issued the first U.S. passport with a gender-neutral ‘X’ marker. Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad, told the Washington Blade and the Associated Press that “Offering a third gender marker is a significant step towards ensuring that our administrative systems account for the diversity of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.” Stern added that passports with an “X” gender marker will “reflect the true gender of the passport holder and make people safer, hopefully by reducing the likelihood of dehumanizing harassment and mistreatment that so often happens at border crossings when a person’s legal documentation does not correspond with their gender expression. When a person obtains identity documents that reflect their true identity, they live with greater dignity and respect.” The State Department announcement notes the gender neutral marker will be offered to all routine passport applicants in early 2022 once the required system and form updates are complete.
10.26.2021 Announces nomination of Gigi Sohn to be Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, noting: “Gigi is one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks. For over thirty years, Gigi has worked to defend and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that have made broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open, and protective of user privacy. If she is confirmed, Gigi would be the first openly LGBTIQ+ Commissioner in the history of the FCC.” The administration also nominated Jessica Rosenworcel as the commission’s chair, the first woman to chair the panel.
10.26.2021 Department of State announces statement for Intersex Awareness Day and intersex people: “Too often, intersex persons are subject to violence, to discrimination, and to abuse, solely on the basis of their sex characteristics. We recognize these obstacles and are clear in our commitment to support intersex people. We further recognize the hard work of intersex activists, intersex human rights organizations, and allies who work to promote and to protect the human rights of intersex persons globally. As President Biden and Secretary Blinken have made clear, it is the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics. The Department of State is committed to promoting the freedom, the dignity, and equality of life of all persons, including of course intersex persons, and we will continue to do that.”
10.26.2021 Releases first National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, a 42-page strategy from the White House Gender Policy Council, explained by Jennifer Klein, the council’s co-chair: the guiding principle that underlies the strategy, is that we will take an intersectional approach that recognizes overlapping forms of discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ability, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity. All of those things are really embedded in that guiding principle. And I will also say in the creation of the strategy, as I mentioned, we spoke to 270 young people. … We divided them into groups so that people would have a chance to really participate and really speak, … and many of those actually included gender-nonconforming people as well as transgender people.
10.21.2021 Out White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wears purple for GLAAD Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth, and appears at the White House press briefing to say the disproportionate rate of bullying of LGBTQ youths “reinforces the need” for Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people, then relayed a personal story of Spirit Day’s impact: “A younger staffer recently told me that in high school he noticed how many people wore purple on Spirit Day and how much that meant to him as a young closeted teen. I could only hope that young people who might be watching or see clips of this briefing will know that they are supported and represented in the highest levels of government today. So today I join people around the world in wearing purple to show solidarity with victims of domestic violence and with lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, and intersex youth. Our administration stands with you, we support you, and we love you.” The White House press team and the White House Office of Public Engagement also wore purple for Spirit Day, as did Vice President Harris.
10.20.2021 Speaks up for transgender children and against a bill passed by the Texas legislature that bans trans children from school sports. “This hateful bill in Texas is just the latest example of Republican state lawmakers using legislation to target transgender kids — whom the president believes are some of the bravest Americans — in order to score political points,” White House spokesman Ike Hajinazarian told The Dallas Morning News. “These anti-transgender bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation and undermine our nation’s core values.” The administration “will keep fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect that all LGBTQI+ Americans deserve,” Hajinazarian said, adding that “the White House will be engaging stakeholders in Texas and other states in the coming days and weeks to build a path forward together toward true LGBTQI+ equality.”
10.18.2021 Health and Human Services (HHS) announces Dr. Rachel Levine was sworn in as a four-star admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Corps’ first-ever female and first out transgender four-star admiral. Admiral Levine will lead 6,000 Public Health Service officers dedicated to serving underserved and vulnerable populations. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra: “Admiral Levine’s historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward towards equality as a nation. This is a proud moment for us at HHS. Admiral Levine — a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health — is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.”
10.11.2021 Issues statement to commemorate National Coming Out Day, which reads in part: To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.
09.21.2021 Urges support for LGBTQIA+ people around the world in speech before the United Nations General Assembly: “The founding ethos of the United Nations places the rights of individuals at the center of our system, and that clarity and vision must not be ignored or misinterpreted… We all must call out and condemn the targeting and oppression of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities — whether it occurs in Xinjiang or northern Ethiopia or anywhere in the world. We all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals so they can live and love openly without fear, whether it’s Chechnya or Cameroon or anywhere.”
09.20.2021 Recognizes 10th anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with a statement and news conference featuring out veterans: “The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. It was the right thing to do. And, it showed once again that America is at its best when we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example… Today, our military doesn’t just welcome LGBTQ+ service members—it is led at the highest levels by brave LGBTQ+ veterans, including Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly, who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was gratified to appoint the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Afghanistan veteran who joined the military under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” President Biden included a call for the Senate to pass the Equality Act, to honor the sacrifice of LGBTQ veterans and fight for full equality for all LGBTQ Americans. The Equality Act, which would provide the first federal protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, credit and jury service, among other areas of life. The bill passed the House in April but has since stalled in the Senate.
09.20.21 On the 10th anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Veterans Administration announces policy clarification on eligibility for benefits for those discharged: “Today, we are also taking steps to clarify VA policy for Veterans who were given other than honorable discharges based on homosexual conduct, gender identity or HIV status. Under this newly-issued guidance, VA adjudicators shall find that all discharged service members whose separation was due to sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status are considered “Veterans” who may be eligible for VA benefits, like VR&E, home loan guaranty, compensation & pension, health care, homeless program and/or burial benefits, so long as the record does not implicate a statutory or regulatory bar to benefits.”
09.13.2021 Nominates two out candidates, Christy Goldsmith Romero for membership on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Jed Kolko as undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs at the Department of Commerce. Both are subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Goldsmith Romero, who is bisexual, is currently the special inspector general for the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Kolko, who is gay, has been chief economist at Indeed.com, the world’s largest online jobs site, since 2016. He was chief economist and vice president of analytics at online real estate site Trulia from 2011 to 2015. He is on the board of directors of the National Association for Business Economics and the California Budget and Policy Center.
08.18.2021 Leaders at the Departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services release back to school message for transgender students. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke: “In some places, people in positions of authority are putting up obstacles that would keep you from playing on a sports field, accessing the bathroom, and receiving the supportive and lifesaving care you may need. We’re here to say that’s wrong and it’s against the law… The Department of Justice is here, along with the Department of Education, to investigate complaints about discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We want you to know that we are looking out for you and we are here to protect your civil rights.” HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine: “Learning environments free from bullying and harassment are vital to making sure that all students flourish, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is critical to support trans youth, their parents and their families to help them achieve the good health and wellbeing that everyone deserves.” Suzanne Goldberg, Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights: “The Department of Education and the entire federal government stand by you. Your rights at school matter. You matter.” Trans students who face harassment or discrimination because of their gender identity can file a complaint at ed.gov/ocr or with the Department of Justice at civilrights.justice.gov
08.13.2021 Appoints two out leaders for U.S. AbilityOne Commission, which administers one of the nation’s largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Gabe Cazares, currently Director of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office for People with Disabilities, oversaw city services, programs and activities for the more than 215,000 Houstonians with disabilities. The White House statement announcing Gabe’s appointment notes: “He and his partner, Derin Dacey, live in Houston with their 4-year-old rescue dog, Sam.” Chai Feldblum is also an appointee to the commission. She led the drafting and negotiating of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and was Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the Obama-Biden Administration. The White House statement says Chai spearheaded the issuance of new regulations that set a goal for “12% representation in the federal workforce of people with all disabilities and 2% for people with significant disabilities. The latter group includes people with the type of disabilities hired under the AbilityOne program. Chai is a lesbian and has a psychiatric disability of anxiety disorder.”
08.05.2021 The Census Bureau announces that the Household Pulse Survey will now include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. The new version of the questionnaire, which entered the field on July 21, marks the first time a Census Bureau-sponsored survey includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. This is an important step in expanding federal sexual orientation and gender identity data and will help provide new insights on how LGBTQ+ families are faring through the COVID-19 pandemic.
08.05.2021 Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announces that children of same-sex couples born abroad using surrogacy or assisted reproductive technology procedures are eligible for U.S. citizenship. Babies born overseas to married couples that include a U.S. citizen will no longer be required to have a biological connection to the American parent in order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship and family-based immigration benefits.
08.05.2021 Nominates two out women as justices to the federal bench: Vermont Supreme Court Associate Justice Beth Robinson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Charlotte Sweeney to U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. If confirmed, Robinson would be the first out woman to serve on any U.S. appeals court. Charlotte Sweeney would be the first out federal judge in Colorado and the first out woman to serve as a federal district court judge in any state west of the Mississippi. The White House statement announcing the nominations read in part: “These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”
07.30.2021 Appoints out Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum for Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, saying she led Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York to become “a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions.”
07.02.2021 Announces nomination of Chantale Wong as U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank. If confirmed, Wong would become the first openly lesbian ambassador.
06.30.2021 The White House hosts a virtual event featuring transgender and nonbinary leaders, athletes and youth speaking out about the impact of state legislation and their experiences of intersecting forms of discrimination. GLAAD was a streaming partner for the event, which was hosted by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and included other federal officials such as Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and his transgender cousin Alex, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Virginia State Representative Danica Roem, Delaware State Senator Sarah McBride, and Kansas Rep. Stephanie Byers. GLAAD 20 Under 20 honorees Sameer Jha, Stella Keating, Gia Parr, and Ashton Mota, and Changing The Game’s Sarah Rose Huckman also participated.
06.30.2021 The State Department announces a new rule to create a gender marker on passports and other official federal documents for people who identify as nonbinary or intersex. In a statement, the State Department also indicated it would remove requirements such as medical certification: “The Department has begun moving towards adding a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or CRBA. We are evaluating the best approach to achieve this goal.”
06.29.2021 Tweets support and links to video including testimonials from LGBTQ leaders and GLAAD 20 Under 20 honoree Ashton Mota. “To LGBTQ+ folks across the country — no matter where you are on your journey — know you are loved and accepted just as you are.”
06.25.2021 Commemorates Pride Month with speeches in the East Room of the White House. With LGBTQ leaders including GLAAD and advocates among the invited guests, out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and GLAAD “20 Under 20” honoree Ashton Mota gave opening remarks before introducing President Biden, who said: “our presence here this afternoon makes a simple, strong statement: Pride is back at the White House. For this community and for our nation and for the world, Pride Month represents so much. It stands for courage — the courage of all those in previous generations and today who proudly live their truth. It stands for justice: both the steps we’ve taken and the steps we need to take. And above all, Pride Month stands for love — you know, being able to love yourself, love whomever you love, and love this country enough to make it more fair and more free and more just.”
06.25.2021 Signs executive order to strengthen the federal workforce and urge diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in recruiting federal workers “to achieve a work force from all segments of society.” LGBTQ people are among those from underserved communities to be recruited, hired, promoted and served as those “who have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life.”
06.25.2021 Signs law designating the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial at a White House ceremony. “A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss. We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember,” President Biden said. “May no president ever have to sign another monument like this.” Pictures of the 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub were displayed at the White House signing ceremony.
06.25.2021 Issues new statement of support for The Equality Act: “millions of Americans lack basic non-discrimination protections just because of who they are or whom they love. President Biden believes that every American must be able to live freely, openly, and safely. That’s why he continues to call on the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act, legislation which will provide long overdue federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families, while strengthening some key civil rights laws for people of color, women, people with disabilities, and people of faith.”
06.25.2021 The State Department raises the Progress Pride flag at its headquarters in Washington, DC. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley were among those who helped raise the flag, noting it is the first time a flag recognizing the LGBTQI+ community will fly there. Secretary Sherman also pointed out the “lavender scare” when nearly 1,000 State Department personnel lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. “As much as progress we have made, as we are celebrating today, we still have to work to do to guarantee equality for LGBTQI+ people in our workplaces, in our schools, at the Department of State, in our government and in our society,” Secretary Sherman said. “We raise the Progress flag today as a signal to people everywhere that the United States is firmly committed to doing that work and for fighting for LGBTQI+ people at home and everywhere,” added Sherman.
06.25.2021 Appoints Jessica Stern US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons. The White House released a statement recognizing the threat against LGBTQ people worldwide and the envoy’s work ahead: “At a time when the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are increasingly threatened in all regions of the world, the Special Envoy will bring together like-minded governments, civil society organizations, corporations and international organizations to uphold dignity and equality for all.”
06.19.2021 Department of Veterans Affairs announces it will offer gender confirming surgery for transgender veterans. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the decision allows “transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA by their side… we’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do, but because they can save lives.” There are an estimated 134,000 transgender veterans in the U.S. and another 15,000 transgender people serving in the armed forces.
06.17.2021 Department of Justice files statement of interest against West Virginia’s new law banning transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity, advising that it violates Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972 and violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
06.16.2021 The Department of Education (DOE) is expected to announce protections for LGBTQ students in an opinion on Title IX, which bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” in schools.
“We just want to double down on our expectations,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told the New York Times. “Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”
06.16.2021 Presidential nominees and out military veterans Gina Ortiz Jones and Shawn Skelly testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Jones is President Biden’s nominee for Under Secretary of the Air Force. She will be the first out lesbian and first woman of color to serve as under secretary of a military branch if confirmed. Jones would be the second highest civilian official in the Air Force, overseeing hundreds of thousands of personnel and a budget of hundreds of billions of dollars. Shawn Skelly is nominated for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness. If confirmed, she will be the highest-ranking out transgender defense official in U.S. history.
06.07.2021 Vice President Harris, in her first overseas trip in office, meets with LGBTQ advocates in Guatemala. Vice President Harris acknowledged vulnerable communities they work with in her remarks before the roundtable meeting: “When we met last time, I was so moved to hear about the work that you have been doing, the work that has been about helping women and children, indigenous, LGBTQ, Afro-descendants, people who have long been overlooked or neglected.” Visibles of Guatemala tweeted: “Today we participated in a meeting with the vice president of the United States to talk about development opportunities for Guatemala and the search for inclusive justice. We, as an organization, spoke about the importance of addressing discrimination and acts of violence towards LGBTIQ+ people.”
06.07.201 Tweets: “To transgender Americans across the country — especially the young people who are so brave — I want you to know your President has your back. During Pride Month — and all the time.”
06.05.2021 Official statement from the White House recognizes the devastation of the HIV crisis and announces new additional funding: “… more than 700,000 Americans and 32.7 million people worldwide have been lost to AIDS-related illnesses – a heartbreaking human toll that has disproportionately devastated LGBTQ+ communities, communities of color, and underserved and marginalized people around the world… I have requested $670 million from Congress, an increase of $267 million over previous levels, to aggressively reduce new HIV cases by increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and ensuring equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination.”
06.05.2021 Appoints Harold Phillips to lead the Office of National AIDS Policy. (ONAP) on June 5, 2021. Ambassador Susan Rice, President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor and head of the Domestic Policy Council, announced the appointment and recognized the 40th anniversary of the first reports of HIV: “Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS. Some 32 million people—including 700,000 Americans, disproportionately LGBTQ+ and communities of color—have died of the virus. Many others are living with HIV.” Phillips’ announcement on hiv.gov noted: “Mr. Phillips, an out gay man living with HIV since 2005, began work as ONAP director on June 7.”
06.04.2021 Pride flag raised over the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy for the first time. Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted: “Throughout the Department of @ENERGY, members of the LGBTQ+ community are our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues, and world-leading scientists. Regrettably, still today, they are underrepresented in our workforce, in the broader scientific community, and face discrimination across our country. We’re humbled by the triumphs of the trailblazers that came before, and at @ENERGY we’re fighting to ensure that the clean energy future we’re striving for is an equitable one.” Homeland Security tweeted: “Today @SecMayorkas raised the #pride flag at our headquarters for the first time. Flying over our DC campus, this flag is a symbol of our commitment to our LGBTQ+ employees and the whole community.”
06.01.2021 The US Mission to the United Nations as well US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tweets statement for Pride: “The struggle to end violence, discrimination, criminalization, and stigma against LGBTQI+ people is a global challenge that deserves a global response. This Pride Month and every month, everyone should be treated with dignity and respect no matter who they are or whom they love.”
06.01.2021 State Department issues statement for Pride month: “The Department has committed to increasing U.S. engagement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) human rights issues abroad. The Department has committed to increasing U.S. engagement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) human rights issues abroad. As we do so, we work with partners around the world who bring to bear expertise on their unique challenges and innovative solutions. We recognize that, through these partnerships, we will be able to build a safer, more inclusive global society for all LGBTQI+ persons. We also strive to increase visibility of and address the acute challenges faced by particularly marginalized LGBTQI+ communities, including women and girls; racial and religious minorities; persons with disabilities; and transgender, gender diverse, and intersex persons.” Embassies, including the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and other embassies in countries where LGBTQ rights are not recognized, raise and fly Pride flags. The Embassy to the Holy See in Vatican City tweeted: “The United States respects the dignity and equality of LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights.”
06.01.2021 Issues proclamation on first day of Pride, recognizing progress for LGBTQ Americans and recommitting to solidarity for equality: “Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.”
05.26.2021 Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre becomes the first out gay woman to lead the White House daily press briefing and the first Black woman to do so in thirty years. Jean-Pierre led the briefing by announcing that the Senate had confirmed Kristen Clarke as the first woman and first woman of color to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Jean-Pierre acknowledged her historic moment and her role serving the country: “It’s a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. But I believe that being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people.”
05.26.2021 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced as the keynote speaker at a Pentagon event recognizing Pride Month. The Washington Blade reports the event theme is “Respect, Dignity and Service,” and the announcement describes the event as “crucial to ensuring continued LGBT visibility as we continue to work toward greater equality in the workplace.” No Defense Secretary had appeared at the annual Pride event during the previous administration.
05.18.2021 U.S. State Department announces it will grant citizenship to babies born abroad to married couples with at least one American parent: “Children born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen and who are married to each other at the time of the birth, will be U.S. citizens from birth if they have a genetic or gestational tie to at least one of their parents and meet the INA’s [Immigration and Nationality Act] other requirements. Previously, the Department’s interpretation and application of the INA required that children born abroad have a genetic or gestational relationship to a U.S. citizen parent.” The new policy ensures American and binational couples who use surrogates or other reproductive assistance to give birth overseas can pass along citizenship to their children. A previously enforced policy required a child born abroad have a biological connection to an American parent to receive citizenship at birth, a distinction that was applied unfairly to same-sex couples, several of whom sued the State Department when their child was not recognized as a U.S. citizen.
05.17.2021 Issues statement commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB): “…both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color. Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services. My Administration will always stand with the LGBTQI+ community.”
05.10.2021 Announces Department of Health and Human Services will once again prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by healthcare organizations that receive federal funding. Reverses policy rollback the previous administration had announced on June 12, 2020, four years to the day of the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people, most of whom were LGBTQ.
The First 100 Days
04.28.2021 Urges passage of the Equality Act and affirms support for transgender American, in his first presidential address to Congress. “I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans. To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back.” First Lady Dr. Jill Biden invites transgender teenager Stella Keating to her “virtual guest box.” Keating was the first transgender teenager to testify before a Senate committee at a hearing for the Equality Act in March.
04.28.2021 Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power confirmed as administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is also a vocal champion of LGBTQ rights. “People are suffering terribly around the world simply because of who they love and who they are,” Power told the Washington Blade during a 2017 interview. “Their own horizons are bounded. Their own travel plans are constricted because these rights are violated so blatantly and so brutally around the world.”
04.27.2021 Announces intention to nominate out veteran Gina Ortiz-Jones as Under Secretary of the Air Force. From the White House announcement: “A member of the LGBTQ community, Ms. Jones served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Upon separation from the Air Force, Ms. Jones advised on military operations in Central and South America with the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade and U.S. Army South. She joined the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as an inaugural member of U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany and served in the Libya Crisis Intelligence Cell.”
04.26.2021 Vice President Harris acknowledges violence against LGBTQ people as a root cause of migration to the U.S., in meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala. VP Harris said: “[T]he people of Guatemala have been suffering greatly because of the recent hurricanes, the persistent drought, and, of course, the damage from COVID-19. And as we have discussed, these are the acute factors that, in many ways, are causing people to leave their homes despite the fact that they would probably prefer to stay. There are also longstanding issues that are often called the “root causes” of immigration. We are looking at the issue of poverty and the lack, therefore, of economic opportunities; the issue of extreme weather conditions and the lack of climate adaptation; as well as corruption and the lack of good governance; and violence against women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants. And we want to work with you to address both the acute causes as well as the root causes in a way that will bring hope to the people of Guatemala that there will be an opportunity for them if they stay at home.“
04.23.2021 State Department will allow U.S. missions overseas to once again fly the LGBT Pride flag on their official flagpoles, according to an internal State Department cable obtained by ABC News. The policy, announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, repeals his predecessor Mike Pompeo’s effective ban on Pride flags flying at U.S. embassies and consulates.
04.23.2021 Announces intentions to nominate West Point graduate Army veteran and out lesbian Sue Fulton for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense. Fulton helped push for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” The White House statement says: “Fulton founded and led SPARTA to successfully end the transgender ban, while at the same time providing counsel to Army leaders on removing the combat exclusion rule and integrating women in the combat arms. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as the first openly gay member of the West Point Board of Visitors, and she was later elected Chair (twice) with strong bipartisan support. During 8 years on the Board, she successfully advocated for significant increases in admissions of Black, Latino, and women cadets.”
04.23.2021 Announces intentions to nominate Shawn Skelly, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense. Skelly served 20+ years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, retiring from active duty as a Commander. The White House statement notes that Skelly “is Vice President and Co-Founder of Out in National Security, a member of the Atlantic Council’s LGBTI Advisory Council, and a member of the Service Year Alliance Leadership Council.” If confirmed by the Senate, Skelly would be the highest-ranking defense official who is openly transgender.
04.22.2021 Dept. of Justice files a statement of interest on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a Black trans woman and activist for the rights of incarcerated people. Diamond is suing Georgia’s Dept. of Corrections for being imprisoned and housed with men, where she was harassed and sexually assaulted. The statement says “The United States submits that the Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to conduct individualized assessments that lead to reasonably safe conditions of confinement and adequate medical care for all prisoners” and that prison officials violate both the U.S. Constitution and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) by “categorically refusing to assign transgender prisoners to housing that corresponds to their gender identity even if an individualized risk assessment indicates that doing so is necessary to mitigate a substantial risk of serious harm, and [by] failing to individualize the medical care of transgender prisoners for the treatment of gender dysphoria.”
04.22.2021 Dept. of Housing and Urban Development formally withdraws Trump-era proposed rule change to reaffirm the right of transgender people to seek shelters matching their gender identity. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge: “Access to safe, stable housing-and shelter-is a basic necessity. Unfortunately, transgender and gender non-conforming people report more instances of housing instability and homelessness than cis-gender people. Today, we are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity. HUD is open for business for all.”
04.12.2021 Announces intention to nominate Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus for Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He would be the first openly gay CBP commissioner. The White House statement notes: “He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and his master’s degree in Labor Relations from Michigan State University. Magnus attended the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He has been with his husband, Terrance Cheung, for 15 years.”
04.08.2021 Pres. Biden acknowledges survivors and the loss of LGBTQ lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando nearly five years ago, in announcing policies to address gun violence.
03.31.2021 The Dept. of Defense issues policy updates allowing transgender Americans to once again serve openly in the military: “The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect.” The new policy will be effective April 30, 2021.
03.31.2021 President Biden issues statement proclaiming March 31, 2021, Transgender Day of Visibility, which “recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world.” Pres. Biden is the first president to issue such a proclamation. Transgender Day of Visibility was first recognized in 2009.
03.26.2021 Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issues memo that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision expanding protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace can be extended to Title IX claims. “I hope this memorandum provides a starting point for your agencies to ensure the consistent and robust enforcement of Title IX, in furtherance of the commitment that every person should be treated with respect and dignity,” says the memo from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan.
03.24.2021 Dr. Rachel Levine becomes first out transgender presidential nominee to be confirmed by the Senate. Dr. Levine is Assistant Secretary for Health in the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the highest-ranking transgender federal official.
03.08.2021 On International Women’s Day, signs executive order to guarantee all students “an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
03.08.2021 Creates Gender Policy Council with the goal of advancing equality and equity for women and girls, and ensure the federal government works to advance equal rights and opportunity, regardless of gender or gender identity. The executive order includes LGBTQ people as among those who “suffer discrimination based on multiple factors, including membership in an underserved community.”
03.02.2021 Gina Raimondo sworn in as Secretary of Commerce. Raimondo, as the first female governor of Rhode Island, signed a bill updating the state’s parenting and adoption laws saying, “No parent should have to jump through hoops to receive legal recognition because of their sexual orientation or the circumstances of their child’s birth.” Gov. Raimondo also restored veterans benefits to military veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and signed a law banning so-called “conversion therapy.”
03.01.2021 Miguel Cardona confirmed as Secretary of Education. Cardona, a former public school teacher, principal and administrator, upheld the rights of transgender students during his confirmation hearing: “I think it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender… I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities, even if they’re transgender. I think that’s their right.”
03.01.2021 Vice President Harris tweets: “Women make history every day. Some we know—the Suffragettes, the Riveters. The stories of others—especially women of color and LGBTQ women—have gone untold. This Women’s History Month, we honor these women and all women.”
02.25.2021 Dr. Rachel Levine becomes the first presidential appointee to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing. Levine discussed her record in public health, pediatric care, and the battles against opioid addiction and Covid-19. Levine also endured invasive and transphobic questioning from Sen. Rand Paul during the hearing.
02.25.2021 Tweets: “Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act. Now it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”
02.24.2021 Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces US intends to seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, promising to pursue a policy to advance gender equality, uplift the rights of women, and end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
02.22.2021 Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as US Ambassador to the UN. Amb. Thomas-Greenfield’s record includes advancing LGBTQ rights in 2012 as Ambassador to Monrovia, where she deployed “gumbo diplomacy,” inviting the minister of information and local LGBTQ youth to dinner in effort to lower the risk of LGBTQ harassment.
02.19.2021 Issues statement on introduction of The Equality Act in Congress and to urge its passage: “Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems – and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law.”
02.11.2021 Department of Housing and Urban Development implements LGBTQ protections in housing, becoming first federal agency to implement Pres. Biden’s executive order to interpret Supreme Court Bostock ruling and include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes under ban on sex discrimination.
02.10.2021 Appoints 12 professionals to the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, created to address Covid-19 inequities, according to “race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other factors.”
02.10.2021 Agrees to a temporary stay ordered in DC District Court, preventing last-minute Trump administration rollback of LGBTQ protections at agencies receiving HHS funding, including shelters, medical services and senior services.
02.09.2021 Press Secretary Jen Psaki responds to a reporter’s question about trans policy in the daily briefing, saying, “The president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights.”
02.05.2021 The CDC issues a report on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ Americans, including increased risk for severe symptoms and long-term complications. The report specifically points to the lack of LGBTQ inclusion in data collection and recommends that sexual orientation and gender identity be added to collection efforts.
02.04.2021 Issues executive memo on advancing LGBTQ human rights around the world. The memo directs all agencies “engaged abroad” to consider the implications of LGBTQ rights in funding and policy, increases protections for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, proposes combating criminalization of LGBTQ people in foreign nations, and directs agencies to file reports on LGBTQ human rights directives within 180 days.
02.03.2021 Issues proclamation for National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness and Prevention Month to address higher rates of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among young women, trans and gender nonconforming youth, saying dating violence “transcends gender…and sexual orientation.”
01.30.2021 Tweets: “Over the last 10 days, I’ve taken action on: – COVID-19 – The economy – Climate change – Racial equity – Immigration – Health care – LGBTQ+ rights. And I’m just getting started.”
01.26.2021 Directs HUD to review and assess Trump-era regulatory changes, citing housing discrimination against LGBTQ, people of color, immigrants and people with disabilities. Directs HUD to assess Fair Housing Act practices.
01.25.2021 Revokes Trump’s 2018 ban on transgender military personnel and recruits. Tweets: Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.
01.21.2021 Signs executive order to increase COVID-19 equitable data collection, pointing to lack of tracking data in underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted, specifically citing lack of data collection for LGBTQ people. Establishes COVID-19 Equity Task Force to assess whether resources have been allocated equitably, and strengthen anti-discrimination efforts.
01.20.2021 Unveils changes to White House website contact form to include the addition of pronoun fields, now with they/them nonbinary pronouns and new additions to prefix field (Mx. added).
01.20.2021 Signs executive order directing the federal government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all,” specifically citing LGBTQ people among the list of underserved communities. Directs the Domestic Policy Council to “coordinate efforts to embed equity principles, policies, and approaches across the Federal Government” in coordination with the NSC and the National Economic Council. Directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to assess equity and launch model and pilot programs as needed, and allocate budget resources. Directs all federal agencies to conduct 200-day assessments of systemic barriers to agency services for underserved populations and to engage with stakeholder and advocacy groups. Establishes Equitable Data Working Group.
01.20.2021 Signs executive order that directs all federal agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision and interpreting the federal ban on sex discrimination (via the Civil Rights Act 1964) to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. The order points to ending discrimination against transgender youth in school facilities including restrooms, locker rooms, and access to sports programs.
Key LGBTQ nominations, appointments and staff hires:
Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense: Brenda Sue Fulton
Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense: Shawn Skelly
Nominee for Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner: Chris Magnus
Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg
Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services: Dr. Rachel Levine
Secretary of State spokesperson: Ned Price
Deputy Press Secretary: Karine Jean-Pierre
Deputy White House Comms Director: Pili Tobar
White House Social Secretary: Carlos Elizondo
Director of Political Strategy and Outreach: Emmy Ruiz
Deputy Director, Office of Presidential Personnel: Gautam Raghavan