On the last day of Pride Month, we reflect on the decades of leadership and advocacy of transgender Americans who have led the movement for LGBTQ+ equality, and have made our Nation stronger and more vibrant. Every American deserves the freedom to live with dignity, safety, and opportunity. But many transgender Americans, especially transgender women and girls of color, continue to face systemic discrimination and violence. In too many states across the Nation, anti-transgender legislation has sought to strip away core rights of transgender Americans, especially transgender children. These legislative efforts defy our Nation’s values of freedom and equality, and as President Biden has said, these bills amount to bullying disguised as legislation.
Since his first day in office, President Biden has taken historic actions to advance equality for transgender Americans and root out discrimination at the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to advance equality, inclusion, and opportunity for transgender Americans:
Hosting a White House Virtual Convening on Transgender Equality. Today, the White House is releasing a first-of-its-kind national conversation on equality for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary Americans. The convening, hosted by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, features transgender youth advocates from across the country, openly transgender leaders and athletes, and senior officials from across the Biden-Harris Administration. The convening highlights the hopes, joys, and successes of transgender and non-binary people across America, as well as the impact that systemic discrimination has on transgender youth in particular. Participants share stories about the impact that state-level anti-transgender legislation has had on their wellbeing; their experiences of multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination; and best practices for advancing acceptance and equality for transgender Americans.
Announcing the creation of a new White House-led Interagency Working Group on Safety, Inclusion, and Opportunity for Transgender Americans. Transgender people, especially transgender women and girls of color, face epidemic levels of violence, discrimination, and stigma. To help drive a Federal response to these crises, today the White House Domestic Policy Council and Gender Policy Council announced the establishment of an Interagency Working Group led out of the White House that will coordinate policies to advance safety, economic opportunity, and inclusion for transgender Americans. The Working Group will include participants from the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Labor, Interior, Veterans Affairs, and Defense. The Interagency Working Group will review policies that are upstream drivers of violence and poverty for transgender individuals, including homelessness, employment discrimination, violence and abuse, and bullying and rejection at school. The Department of State and USAID will also participate to strengthen their efforts to protect transgender individuals from violence and discrimination around the world. To help inform the priorities of the Working Group, in the coming weeks the White House will host listening sessions with transgender women of color and transgender advocates to hear their policy recommendations for advancing safety, opportunity, and inclusion.
Taking steps to expand the availability of accurate Federal IDs for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary Americans. Every American deserves access to forms of Federal identification that respect and dignify their gender identity. Today, the State Department announced that it is updating agency procedures to remove burdensome medical documentation requirements for transgender Americans who wish to update their gender markers on their passports and other citizenship or identity documents. The State Department also announced that it is beginning the process to add a third gender marker for gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex Americans, and will work closely with interagency partners to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders.
Making the Federal government a model employer for transgender public servants. The Federal government is at its best when its public servants reflect the diversity of the American people. On June 25, President Biden signed an Executive Order which takes historic new steps to ensure the Federal government is a model employer for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary employees. The Executive Order charges agencies with building inclusive cultures for transgender employees by:
- Expanding the availability of gender-neutral facilities in Federal buildings;
- Ensuring that employee services support transgender employees who wish to legally, medically or socially transition;
- Advancing the use of non-binary gender markers and pronouns in Federal employment processes;
- Strengthening Federal health insurance benefits so that they provide comprehensive gender-affirming care;
- Ensuring that Federal employee benefits, like paid leave programs, respect diverse family structures; and
- Mitigating barriers that transgender employees can face in the background investigation process.
Expanding comprehensive gender-affirming care for our Nation’s veterans. Our Nation’s veterans deserve the highest quality of care available. But for too long, transgender veterans have faced barriers in accessing comprehensive gender-affirming care through the VA medical system. This month, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that is beginning the regulatory process to removed outdated restrictions that prevent transgender veterans from accessing the gender-affirming care they need and deserve.
Releasing a toolkit on equality and inclusion for transgender Americans. Today, the White House released a new toolkit with best practices for advancing inclusion, opportunity, and safety for transgender Americans. The toolkit highlights steps that agencies across the Federal government are taking to combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity and Federal resources for transgender individuals who believe they have faced discrimination.
Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s historic actions to advance full equality for transgender Americans. Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken critical steps to advance equality for transgender Americans, including by reversing the discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers; expanding non-discrimination protections for transgender Americans in housing, healthcare, credit and lending, and education; advancing the human rights of transgender people around the world; and recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility at the White House for the first time.