Politics

Biden targets conversion therapy, transgender bans in executive order

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order aimed at curbing discrimination against transgender youth and drying up federal funding for the practice of conversion therapy.

Biden’s executive order asks the federal health and education departments to expand access to gender-affirming medical care and find new ways to counter a myriad of bills passed in U.S. states by conservative lawmakers this year that ban these treatments for transgender youth.

President Biden, as he signed an LGBTQ+ executive order said: “My message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are understood. You do belong. I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage, have your back.”

A study backed by the Trevor Project, who are an LGBTQ+ anti-suicide advocacy group, found that approximately $650 million is spent on conversion practices annually, including payments from insurance companies and Medicaid, the federally funded healthcare program for lower income people.

“We have a lot more work to do, a lot more work to do,” Biden said before signing the executive order at a Pride month reception at the White House.

Decrying what he called the “ultra-Maga” agenda, Biden said states have introduced hundreds of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people, that parents of transgender youth are being harassed in Texas, and Mickey Mouse is targeted in Florida for Walt Disney’s defense of gay rights. “These attacks are real and consequential for real families,” Biden said.

The measures also include encouraging the placement of LGBT children in foster homes that support their sexual orientation and creating a new working group on LGBT homelessness. They come after the Department of Justice has challenged some conservative state laws on trans kids as unconstitutional.

The White House said more than 300 “anti-LGBTQI+” laws were introduced in state legislatures over the past year, a reference to bills barring classroom discussion of gender identity, blocking access to healthcare to help young people transition, and restricting participation in sports.

The White House’s stopped short of an outright federal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public spaces and federal programs. That would require Senate approval for the Equality Act.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN

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