Yesterday, along with LGBTQI+ families, advocates, elected officials, and leaders, the National LGBTQ Task Force attended the White House LGBTQ Pride Month event hosted by President and Dr. Biden. The Task Force was represented by Mayra Hidalgo Salazar, Deputy Executive Director, and Liz Seaton, Policy Director.
While there, President Biden signed a new “Executive Order (EO) on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals.” The EO broadly outlines plans, initiatives or recommendations by 10+ federal agencies on so-called “conversion therapy”; disparities LGBTQI+ youth face in foster care; misuse of child welfare agencies to target LGBTQI+ youth, adults and families; mental health needs of LGBTQI+ youth; greater supports for LGBTQI+ students; discrimination/barriers in health care, including reproductive health and gender-affirming care; rights of older adults; and homelessness and housing instability. A complete analysis will take time. So will our ability to tell whether people’s daily lives improve from EO implementation.
Here is what we can say today about the EO:
- In response to the spate of anti-LGBTQ state laws, includes efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to work with states to expand access to gender affirming care and the Department of Education to promote guidance, technical assistance, training, promising practices for states. The impact of this effort remains unclear.
- Unfortunately does not address protections from the increasing violent extremism aimed at the diverse LGBTQ community.
- Includes efforts meant to prevent conversion therapy in the U.S. and internationally, including preventing federal monies being spent on this dangerous and harmful practice.
- Emphasizes the racist and queerphobic child welfare system and proposes to work on this with an emphasis on both queer youth and diverse parents treated badly by the system overall, particularly Black and Brown women. Lesbian and bisexual women are disproportionately represented among those whose children are taken away for “neglect”, which is often a result of poverty and white supremacy.
- Includes launching a new subcommittee on SOGI (sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics) Data Collection, and Queering the Census and other data collection efforts remains a Task Force priority.
- Provides a vital focus on suicide prevention, as research continually is showing our young people at particularly high risk.
- Names many lines of work intended to to prevent queer adult, family, and youth homelessness and instability.
- Includes ordering HHS to publish non-discrimination guidance and create a Bill of Rights for LGBTQI+ Older Adults in long-term care settings.
- Does not seem to include compliance, enforcement or litigation, though whether that’s intended could become clear in time.
- Includes many items that lack deadlines, while our communities’ needs are crisis-level in some areas.
Significantly, the EO omitted mention or plans to move to help LGBTQ immigrants held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers as well as the ongoing deportations of immigrants, including LGBTQ people.
“While the Pride invitation, event itself and the Executive Order contents signal a positive departure from the previous administration, the country’s climate for LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and people of color remain dangerous and is escalating. We need a strong, operational response to this reality reflected in the EO,” said Mayra Hidalgo Salazar, Deputy Executive Director.
Our colleague Jennicet Gutiérrez, co-executive director of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, publicly declined an invitation to attend the 2022 White House Pride Month celebration to protest the detention and deportation of LGBTQ people.In partnership, we lift up Familia’s demands that the Biden administration must:
- End trans and queer detention;
- End Title 42 deportations;
- Protect trans and queer people from anti-trans/queer legislation; and
- IMMEDIATELY release ALL transgender people, people living with HIV, and people with medical conditions from ICE custody.
Our communities need bold action and tangible support from an ally with the largest bully pulpit, power and resources to fight the onslaught – President Biden,” continued Hidalgo-Salazar. “LGBTQ immigrants cannot wait any longer, and we must speak truth to power. President Biden made campaign promises to our communities and we delivered for him in 2020 – votes from the Black, Brown and LGBTQ communities proved esssential to victory,” concluded Hidalgo Salazar.
“We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to date and this new EO and hope the EO yields tangible benefits that improve people’s daily lives. We take seriously our responsibility to advocate for our communities’ needs from our national government,” said Liz Seaton, Policy Director.
“That said, the White House provides no deadline for when our community’s children, young people and families can expect new Title IX regulations,” noted Seaton. “It’s two years since the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock that federal civil right laws protect LGBTQ people because sex includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Today’s conservative Supreme Court poses an enormous threat, and this can’t wait. That is why we joined the National Women’s Law Center and 200+ organizations to send a letter calling for the proposed regulations by June 23. That’s the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.”