Prohibition of Discrimination: What the Biden Administration has done for the LGBTQ+ Community

Josie Graves, Journalist

The last administration in the white house greatly hindered the progress of gaining equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the rights that had allowed those who identify within this spectrum the ability to live without fear of prejudice, had been hastily removed and left in tatters by the actions of the 45th president. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity became, once again, legal. Those who identified as trans were left unable to serve their country in the military, and though the amount of hate crimes reported had decreased, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), indicated a rise in these violent acts. But however alarming the prejudice against this minority community is, and however much ground they lost in their fight for human rights within the span of those four years run by our current president’s predecessor, the new administration has dutifully acknowledged their pleas and is stepping up to help these people regain their well deserved rights.  

President Biden and Madam Vice President Harris, adopted their new roles with a desire to make noticeable and helpful change within our society. In only the first two months, Biden has signed a total of 34 executive orders, many with the intention of unraveling the harm done to minority communities. His most notable executive order was signed on January 20, 2021, which is being used to combat and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

There are four sections within this order, each with a unique purpose to ensure equal treatment for the LGBTQ community. The first is in regards to the policy. In it, Biden states that “every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.” To specify this claim, he includes that children should be allowed to go to school without fear of being denied access to the appropriate bathroom, locker room, etc, that matches their identity. Adults should be allowed to work without constantly having a nagging thought that any day they could be fired because of sexuality or gender. And any other person should not have to conform to social norms just because there is a possibility of discrimination. Each of these points that Biden touches on are found within the text of the constitution, which promises equal protection under the law. 

To ensure that this prohibition of discrimination was being followed, the second section was put into place to enforce these reestablished rules. Agencies are allowed to define how these new regulations apply to them, and which behaviors are considered to be in defiance of the executive order. However, the agencies must consult the attorney general, a position now held by Monty Wilkinson, in order to safeguard the implemented statutes of section one. 

Since a majority of section two outlines the role of agencies, section three is used to define what is being meant by this term. In summary an agency is simply “any authority of the United States.” Finally the fourth section holds that power already vested to those in authority positions will not be changed in accordance with this law and that nothing else that is not outlined within its text will be altered. 

This executive order has become a major win for human rights activists, but it could have proven to be mildly ineffective without the passing of the Equality Act. In this year alone, 29 states have passed anti-LGBT laws that remove many rights and leaves the community unprotected from violence and discrimination. This means only 21 states offer freedoms to those who identify as LGBTQ, a number that is incredibly troubling and unbelievable as we continue to climb through the 21st century. Never in the history of the United States has there been a federal law that affirms the rights of LGBTQ people, so this makes the passing of the Equality Act even more historic. This act solidifies civil rights, offers protection from discrimination, and overall has sent a major wave of relief through the country for each citizen, gay, bi, trans, or with any other identity. 

The Biden administration has made major advancements to gain civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community which is an incredible feat considering they have only held office for about two months. It is clear to everyone within this minority that they are being seen, heard, and cared for by our nation’s highest power. The fight for equality, the fact that it is only just beginning to scrape the surface of the world being fought for, is a sad and burdensome truth. Our nation, and the world it is a part of, still has a ways to go before acceptance is commonplace, but with the compassion being shown from President Biden and Madam Vice President Harris, the hopes of the movement are becoming reality.