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Biden-Harris 2020 sign. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP
Biden-Harris 2020 sign. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP

Biden administration shows early that it’s there to fight for the LGBTQ+ community

Like with other early actions, much of Biden’s moves in the LGBTQ+ sphere have been to reverse measures put in place by his twice-impeached predecessor.

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President Biden has only been in the Oval Office for less than two days, but he is already repairing much of the damage left by his predecessor. 

So far, he has reversed the immigration travel ban that was imposed on 13 Muslim majority countries, signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement, and revoked the permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline

The Biden-Harris administration has also committed themselves wholeheartedly to protect the freedom and liberties of the LGBTQ community. 

The newly-appointed secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has made several promises to the LGBTQ+ community, including the designation of an LGBTQ+ envoy, and allowing all U.S embassies to fly Pride flags, which Trump banned during last year's Pride month in June. 

During his confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 19, he commented on the global increase in LGBTQ violence, and the harrowing number of trans women of color that have been murdered in 2020

“And so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the department is going to take on and take on immediately,” he added. 

Biden has also signed an order enforcing the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), ensuring that everyone receives equal treatment under the law, “no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” 

According to the White House website, this order safeguards members of the LGBTQ+ community from facing workplace discrimination. 

The executive order laid out the logic behind the decision by referencing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Fair Housing Act and section 412 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

It suggested that under Bostock’s reasoning, all these laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, should also apply to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Many LGBTQ organizations are pleased with this decision, especially including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). 

Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR, applauded the order. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock is the law of the land. It is a welcome relief to have a president who respects that law and supports the rights of LGBTQ individuals to be treated equally and fairly,” she said.  

Although this move has received a lot of praise, it has angered a very specific subset of feminists on Twitter. Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, aka TERFS, created the trending hashtag #BidenErasedWomen to express their grievances. 

TERF views actively deny the full humanity of transgender people, and feel that the existence of trans women in female-only spaces is a violation of women’s rights. 

Abigail Shrier, author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, tweeted that Biden’s executive order has “eviscerated women’s sports” by allowing trans women access to women’s teams and women’s scholarships. 

“A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls,” she wrote. 

In classic Twitter fashion, users appropriated the hashtag as a way to call out the blatant trans misogyny in both serious and comical ways. Many users posted photos of the pink, blue and white trans pride flag, in order to “scare” TERFS. 

Julia Serano, musician and writer, posted a thread of articles she’s written that debunk the most common arguments against accepting trans women as women. 

The last four years have weighed heavy on LGBTQ Americans, and though there is much work left to be done, this is an excellent start.

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