It’s a change to be writing positive headlines about an American president.
Over the past four years, if the headline of an article involved the US president and the LGBTQ+ community, you knew it was going to be bad news.
But the new Biden administration has wasted no time in rectifying this as he sets out his plans to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ Americans.
In his first day in office, Joe Biden signed an executive order enforcing the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on protections for LGBTQ+ workers. The landmark 6-3 ruling back in June ruled that federal civil rights laws protects LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination.
“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in his opinion.
“Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Despite the ruling having been in place since June, the former administration had refused to enforce it.
In a statement, Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, said: “This order signals the new administration’s plan to advance LGBTQ+ equity through an intersectional lens that centers all of our most vulnerable communities, including LGBTQ+ people of colour, LGBTQ+ people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ immigrants.
“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to continue to advance LGBTQ+ students’ rights by supporting the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Equality Act, strengthening federal survey data collection on LGBTQ+ students’ experiences and identifying ways to direct additional school resources to programs that support underserved LGBTQ+ students and educators.”
Imani Rupert-Gordon, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said: “By signing this executive order on his first day of office, President Biden is boldly demonstrating that his administration will prioritize the civil rights of all Americans.
“However, we recognize that there is still much work to be done in order to end the systematic discrimination that plagues LGBTQ people, communities of colour, and people that hold multiple underrepresented identities in this country, and NCLR looks forward to working with this administration to help support and protect all of us.”
White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, promised that more executive orders giving equality to the LGBTQ+ community were on the way.
The new administration is set to relax existing regulations and allow transgender students to access their preferred facilities in accordance with their identified gender; a rule which was implemented during Obama’s presidency.
In terms of future prospects, it’s likely Joe Biden will have other plans to put into play. A large part of the President’s campaign was the promise to deliver the Equality Act in his first 100 days in office, as well as promising to keep LGBTQ+ rights on his agenda.
It is also planning to overturn the ban on transgender people serving in the military, with the new Defence Secretary, Gen. Lloyd Austin being in favour of the move. “I support the plan to overturn the ban, I truly believe that if you’re a fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” he said.