The White House on Wednesday said it would gather federal agencies in the coming weeks, including the Justice Department, Defense Department and Department of Health and Human Services, to revise policies driving poverty, violence, and discrimination against transgender people.
The announcement comes after the Biden administration had already pledged to reverse Trump-era policies that disproportionately impacted transgender Americans and restricted LGBTQ+ access to health care, housing, and equal treatment in prisons.
The administration’s latest policy change affecting trans people came from the State Department, which said it would allow nonbinary and intersex people to obtain IDs and passports with an “X” gender marker instead of an “M” or an “F.”
Members of the White House initiative announced Wednesday, headed by the Gender Policy Council and Domestic Policy Council, plan to meet with trans advocates in the next few weeks to hear their policy recommendations. Meeting with advocates will be the group’s first step to address issues including employment discrimination, homelessness, abuse, and school bullying, White House spokesperson Matt Hill said.
The White House has focused on trans rights at several events commemorating Pride month, culminating with a virtual “transgender equality” event on Wednesday that included U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, HHS Secretary Rachel Levine and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke as speakers.
“So far this year, hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures,” Biden said at his Pride speech last week in the East Room.
“These are some of the ugliest, most un-American laws I’ve seen, and I’ve been here awhile. Many of them target transgender children, seeking to prevent them from receiving the appropriate medical care, for using the bathroom at high schools while they’re — the one where they’ll be most safe, even preventing them from joining sports teams with their classmates,” he said.
Ashton Mota, the 16-year-old Human Rights Campaign ambassador who introduced Biden at his Pride speech last week, thanked the administration on Wednesday at the virtual transgender equality event. “After coming out and receiving support from my family, that’s one of the best things I could have asked for — because it’s given me a platform and a pedestal to be able to use my voice and represent a community that usually isn’t given a seat at the table to have these important conversations,” he said.