February 7, 2023

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address tonight, where he included LGBTQ families as guests and urged Congress to pass the Equality Act “to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.”

In his address, President Biden included LGBTQ people and issues important to LGBTQ Americans:

  • “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.”  

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter, and here:

“President Biden included LGBTQ people in his vision for a more equal, more free and more compassionate country. In re-upping his call for Congress to pass the Equality Act and protect transgender youth, the President is leading by example to expand freedom so no one is left behind. The call is urgent. LGBTQ Americans’ safety and dignity are under attack in state legislatures across the country, and our protections are at risk from the hostile majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Every lawmaker and every voter must speak up for LGBTQ people, and secure protections against discrimination so we all have a greater chance to belong, be safe and to succeed.”

GLAAD responses to the State of the Union via Twitter:

Respect for Marriage Act:

Equality Act and transgender youth:

Among the guests of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden tonight were Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith of Northampton, Massachusetts. The Nortonsmiths were plaintiffs in Goodridge vs. MA Dept. of Public Health, which led to Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to legalize marriage equality. They married on the first day that same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Massachusetts in 2004. In December, the Nortonsmiths introduced the President at the Respect for Marriage Act celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.

President Biden also pledged additional investment in mental health resources: “Let’s do more on mental health, especially for our children. When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school.”

Research from The Trevor Project found 36% of LGBTQ youth reported they have been physically threatened or harmed due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity. 60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it. 89% of LGBTQ youth say seeing LGBTQ representation in TV/movies made them feel good about being LGBTQ.

Additional research:

More than 270 anti-LGBTQ bills have been proposed in state legislatures in 2023. The vast majority of the prior year’s state bills fail—93%—but they are still harmful. 86% of LGBTQ youth say the bills hurt their mental health.

Track 2023 legislation at Equality Federation’s State Legislation Tracker. GLAAD’s Media Guide: State Legislation About LGBTQ People offers facts, context, and resources to journalists in pursuit of fair and accurate reporting on legislation that is proposed without evidence and against the expertise of medical, educational, and human rights professionals that would have negative effects on the dignity, equality, and physical wellbeing of LGBTQ people. 

The Equality Act would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination for every LGBTQ American, in public accommodations, access to credit, education, federal funding, housing and the jury system. It has twice passed the House of Representatives in previous sessions of Congress, but did not come up for a vote in the Senate. 

Said the President, “Congress must restore the right that was taken away with [the repeal of] Roe v Wade. The Vice President and I are doing everything to protect access to reproductive healthcare and safeguard patient safety, but already more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans. Make no mistake, if Congress passes a national ban, I will veto it.” 

Abortion is an LGBTQ issue. The vast majority of Americans agree: The freedom to make private healthcare decisions is an essential human right. Abortion is healthcare, gender-affirming care is lifesaving, and both kinds of care are inextricably linked to everyone’s right to privacy, safety, and dignity free from intrusive, extremist agendas. 

GLAAD is monitoring the Biden Administration’s actions for LGBTQ Americans via the GLAAD Biden Accountability Tracker, documenting policy, personnel and statements.

About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.