Feb. 8, 2021
The National Law Review
Since inauguration, the Biden Administration has used Executive Orders, guidance and regulations, and cabinet nominations to make clear that LGBTQ+ protections are a top policy priority. In the January 26, 2021, press briefing, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice stated that “[e]very agency will place equity at the core of their public engagement, their policy design, and program delivery to ensure that government resources are reaching Americans of color and all marginalized communities — rural, urban, disabled, LGBTQ+, religious minorities, and so many others.” The following is a summary of President Biden’s early actions impacting the LGBTQ+ Community.
The Executive Order recognizes the various manifestations of discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation and the intersection of gender identity or sexual orientation-based discrimination with race or disability-based discrimination. The Executive Order states that “[e]very person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear” regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It focuses on preventing and combating this form of discrimination in schools, the workplace, housing, healthcare, and policing.
The Executive Order states that “[a]ll Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve [and t]he All-Volunteer Force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security.” It seeks to provide protections to transgender service members so that they may serve “openly and free from discrimination.” The Executive Order cites to a nonpartisan, federally-funded 2016 comprehensive study of the impact of allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military, to 2018 testimony from the then-most-senior leadership for each military branch, and to a statement from a group of former United States Surgeons General to temper any concerns regarding transgender service members.
The Executive Order states that “[d]iverse and inclusive communities strengthen our democracy.” It acknowledges that, “[d]uring the 20th century, Federal, State and local governments” implemented discriminatory housing policies that resulted in a legacy of “residential segregation and discrimination[,]” including “systemic barriers to safe, accessible, and affordable housing for . . . lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals.” Following the policy underlying the Fair Housing Act, the administration seeks to “provide redress to those who have experienced housing discrimination” by eliminating all “forms of discrimination in all stages of homebuying and renting, to lift barriers that restrict housing and neighborhood choice, to promote diverse and inclusive communities, to ensure sufficient physically accessible housing, and to secure equal access to housing opportunity for all.”
 The 2016 study concluded that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces, “only minimally impacts military readiness and healthcare costs,” and has “no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.”
 “[I]n 2018, the then-serving Chief of Staff of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force all testified publicly to the Congress that they were not aware of any issues of unit cohesion, disciplinary problems, or issues of morale resulting from open transgender service.”
 A group of former United States Surgeons General stated that “transgender troops are as medically fit as their non‑transgender peers and that there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude them from military service or to limit their access to medically necessary care.”
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