Biden tells transgender Americans 'Your president has your back'

‘The president has your back’: White House preparing behind the scenes to tackle rash of 250 anti-trans bills

Human Rights Campaign reportedly having ‘conversations’ with White House regarding bills

Louise Hall
Tuesday 04 May 2021 20:29
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Joe Biden’s administration is preparing to confront anti-LGBT+ and anti-trans legislation that is advancing through state legislatures, a report has said.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBT+ advocacy group in the US, is having “conversations” with the White House on how to combat the bills, according to the Daily Beast.

A wave of anti-LGBT+ legislature has emerged in US states in recent weeks, particularly bills that seek to restrict the rights of transgender children to play sport, access healthcare, and receive gender-affirming therapy.

“We are having conversations with the Biden administration about additional actions that they should be taking as it relates to anti-LGBTQ bills that we’re seeing in these states,” HRC President Alphonso David told the outlet.

“But we want to make sure we don’t lose sight of how important those words are, and how important his early actions have been to support and protect LGBTQ people throughout the country.”

Mr David would not reveal to the website details of the conversations, but said that they were “exploring [a] variety of ways where the administration could be even more active”.

He said he would “anticipate more actions from the Biden administration as related to these bills”, saying he thinks “more needs to be done” and they are “engaging with them to do more”.

“I believe that the administration is going be taking additional steps and additional actions that will further clarify their position as it relates to the anti-LGBTQ bills that we’re seeing in the states,” Mr David said. “I can’t tell you what form that will take.”

The Independent has contacted the White House and the HRC for further comment regarding the apparent conversations. When contacted by the Daily Beast, the White House declined to comment on any plans to target the anti-LGBT+ bills or whether the president planned to contact state officials directly.

“Protecting LGBTQ+ Americans, especially transgender and non-binary people, from discrimination remains a key priority for President Biden,” Reggie Greer, director of priority placement and senior adviser on LGBTQ+ engagement at the White House, told the outlet.

Mr Greer noted that “Policies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people are inconsistent with the values of this administration” and said that Mr Biden continues to urge the Senate to pass The Equality Act.

The Equality Act is a piece of legislation that would prevent LGBT+ people from being discriminated against in areas such as employment, housing, education, and public spaces and services on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Last week during Mr Biden’s joint address to Congress, the president said he hoped that “Congress will get to my desk the Equality Act, to protect LGBTQ Americans.”

He added: “To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially young people, who are so brave, I want you to know, your president has your back.”

The proclamation received a mixed reception from trans activists, with some saying that the statement did not go far enough.

Kai Shappley, a 10-year-old transgender activist who testified in front of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs against two bills that would criminalise gender-transition healthcare for children, said the president’s message was not clear.

“I’m very thankful for this. But, what does having my back mean? Like, if the bills pass in Texas will you keep them from putting my mom in jail?,” she posted on Twitter.

“I guess I appreciate the platitudes. But we need action. Things are desperate,” Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and HIV Project, said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told the Daily Beast that it will “fully enforce our civil rights statutes to protect transgender individuals.”

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