Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to protect LGBTQ+ people from laws targeting them in conservative states.

The measure includes efforts to dry up funding for so-called ‘conversion therapy’ by asking federally funded programs to ensure they are not offering it.

The harmful practice has been widely condemned by health experts all over the world, including the National Health Service and World Health Organisation.

It also includes a request for the Federal Trade Commission to consider determining that ‘conversion therapy’ is an unfair and/or deceptive act that warrants a warning to consumers from the agency.

In addition, the order introduces new federal guidance to ensure that healthcare for LGBTQ+ people is expanded, including gender-affirming care.

American schools will also advance LGBTQ-inclusive education under the newly introduced measures.

White House officials confirmed that the order will seek to expand access to mental health and suicide prevention resources for the community.

“We’re in a battle for the soul of the nation,” Biden said during a ceremony on 15 June, which was attended by an array of LGBTQ+ activists and Democratic lawmakers. “And when I look around this room here and at all of you here today, it’s a battle I know we will win.”

He said that the executive order is “the first time the federal government is leading a coordinated response against” ‘conversion therapy’ and condemned “hateful attacks” made on LGBTQ+ people by Republicans.

“My message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are understood. You do belong,” Biden added. “I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage, have your back.”

The measures come during Pride Month, though White House officials stated that the motivation behind the order was the vast number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced and passed by Republicans in the last year.

“No one knows better than people in this room. We have a lot more work to do. A lot more to do,” he explained, noting the more than “300 discriminatory bills introduced in states across this country — in Texas, knocking on front doors to harass, investigate parents who are raising transgender children. In Florida, going after Mickey Mouse, for God’s sake.”

Other legislation focused on limiting classroom discussions about LGBTQ+ identities, restricting trans students from participating in sports and blocking access to healthcare.

“President Biden believes that no one should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love. Since President Biden took office, he has championed the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans and people around the world, accelerating the march towards full equality,” the White House said.