President Joe Biden has issued an executive order that will extend existing federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
Alphonso David, president of the human rights campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, called it the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.
The order directs all federal agencies to implement the supreme court’s landmark 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which established that LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The order also builds on the high court’s decision, directing any federal agency with protections against discrimination based on sex to interpret those statutes to also protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Biden’s order states, under Bostock’s reasoning, laws that prohibit sex discrimination, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Fair Housing Act and Section 412 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, so long as the laws do not contain sufficient indications to the contrary.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports, adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes, the executive order states.
Biden also acknowledged how discrimination against LGBTQ people often overlaps with other forms of prohibited discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race or disability.
“For example, transgender Black Americans face unconscionably high levels of workplace discrimination, homelessness, and violence, including fatal violence, the order states.
It then directs the head of each federal agency to work in consultation with the attorney general to develop a plan within 100 days to carry out the order.
Advocacy groups said the move is a huge step forward after four years of Trump administration policies that rolled back or attempted to roll back protections for LGBTQ people, including rules from the Department of Health and Human Services that would’ve allowed discrimination against transgender people.
David of the Human Rights Campaign said the order will provide much-needed relief for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.
“Today, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their President and their government believe discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is not only intolerable but illegal. While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this executive order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law, he said in a statement.
Biden issued more than a dozen other executive orders Wednesday, 20 January, many of which advocates said will also positively affect LGBTQ Americans.