June 15, 2022
Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order Advancing Equality for LGBTQI+ Individuals, enacting a range of measures to protect LGBTQ+ youth, families, seniors and other vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Among its key provisions, the executive order seeks to protect LGBTQ+ youth and families from the effects of more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ state laws targeting access to medical care and support at school for transgender youth; protect children from the harmful and discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” safeguard LGBTQ+ health care and programs to prevent record high youth suicides; and support LGBTQ+ children and families with a new initiative to protect foster youth, prevent homelessness and improve access to federal programs. The order also strengthens supports for LGBTQ+ older adults and promotes expanded federal data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The following statement is from GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu:
This executive order is an important step toward ensuring that LGBTQ+ Americans can freely access health care, equal educational opportunities, housing, and other basic needs at a time when our rights are being attacked and undermined in state legislatures nationwide. We are grateful to have a President who is committed to LGBTQ+ equality.
President Biden’s initiative to reduce the risk of youth exposure to the dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” is particularly important as it, along with other disrespect of young people’s identities, is linked to higher rates of suicide attempts and adverse mental health effects. While many states have banned conversion therapy, LGBTQ youth continue to be subjected to it—and right-wing lawmakers have sought to overturn the bans. In New Hampshire for instance, GLAD led a coalition that worked to prevent the legislature from overturning a state law outlawing conversion therapy.
As GLAD continues litigation against Alabama’s law criminalizing parents for obtaining essential health care for their transgender children—one of many such initiatives passed or pending in various states—we’re pleased that President Biden has directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release sample policies for states to expand access to health care for LGBTQ+ patients and specifically work with states to promote expanded access to gender-affirming care.
Finally, we applaud President Biden’s efforts to specifically recognize and address the needs of older LGBTQ+ Americans, who are particularly vulnerable due to fewer family supports, and the cumulative effects of stress related to decades of discrimination and stigma. GLAD recently settled a discrimination complaint on behalf of Marie King, a transgender woman who was denied a room at an assisted living facility, and we welcome the executive order’s directive that HHS publish new guidance on the non-discrimination protections for older adults in long-term care settings.