One Year Into the Biden Administration, Here Are 7 Advancements in LGBTQ Rights
Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021. One year later, we’re taking a look back — specifically at the Biden administration’s LGBTQ advancements and accomplishments.
In the first year of the Biden-Harris administration, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made some concrete steps to protect LGBTQ rights.
Here are just 7 of the Biden administration’s LGBTQ advancements from his first year in office:
1. His Day 1 executive order
In June of 2020, The Supreme Court affirmed in the cases Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. So on his first day in office, the president signed an executive order that required the federal government to implement that ruling protecting LGBTQ identities and rights.
2. His executive order repealing the transgender military ban
Originally repealed during the Obama administration, in July 2017, President Trump announced a ban on transgender military service. In President Biden’s first week of office, he issued an executive order repealing that ban.
3. He withdrew Trump-era proposed Equal Access Rule changes
The Trump administration had also proposed changes that would have gutted the Equal Access Rule ensuring non-discrimination protections in Housing & Urban Development housing and programs based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Under Biden, the federal agency withdrew these proposals, protecting the Obama administration’s Equal Access Rule.
4. Changes to passport gender markers
The State Department announced in June 2021 that there would be changes to passport gender markers to include intersex and nonbinary people. Transgender people can now choose their binary gender marker (M or F) without needing to provide medical documentation to change it, and soon these options will widen to include an X gender marker for nonbinary, intersex, and gender non-conforming people — an important instance of the Biden administration’s LGBTQ advancements.
5. An interagency working group
In a move to strengthen LGBTQ rights, June 2021 saw President Biden announce an interagency federal working group to coordinate different policies to advance safety, economic opportunities and inclusion for transgender people. The agencies involved include various departments, such as the Departments of Justice, Veterans Affairs, Labor and more.
6. Pete Buttigieg’s appointment
Pete Buttigieg — former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and 2020 presidential candidate — became the first openly LGBTQ Senate-confirmed member of the president’s cabinet. Buttigieg was confirmed as Transportation Secretary on a bipartisan basis on Feb. 2, 2021, with a vote of 86-13. (He was also the first openly LGBTQ person to win a presidential primary or caucus.)
7. Dr. Rachel Levine’s appointment
Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health & Human Services on March 24, 2021. Levine also was promoted to four-star admiral in October 2021. She is the first openly transgender person to be sworn into a Senate-confirmed position, and the first openly transgender four-star officer.
We hope this is just the beginning of the Biden administration’s LGBTQ advancements, and that throughout the rest of his administration we’ll see many more.
What do you think of the Biden administration’s LGBTQ advancements and accomplishments? Do you think the administration has done enough?
Photo at top: Samuel Corum / Getty Images