Five Areas Where The Biden Administration is Supporting Trans and Nonbinary People
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing the rights of LGBTQ people, President Biden signed the Executive Order (EO), Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation on his first day in office. This EO created a blueprint for enacting administration-wide guidelines on protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ individuals. The White House Toolkit on Transgender Equality was recently released to help communities understand how various federal government agencies are implementing the EO and advancing health equity for transgender people. Below is a summary of actions that five key federal government agencies have taken to protect the rights of transgender Americans.
– The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) provided best practices and guidance for developing school policies that clearly affirm every student’s gender identity, rights, and privacy. The DOE also shared strategies for schools to promote inclusivity, such as using welcoming and inclusive language and identifying safe spaces on campus.
– The DOE made clear that it would enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination based on sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination based on gender identity. If you have experienced discrimination in education, you can learn more and file a complaint here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html
2. Health and Human Services
– In April 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new proposed regulation repealing the Domestic Gag Rule. This would strengthen the ability of Title X family planning clinics across the country to deliver equitable, affordable, patient-centered care for clients of all genders, especially for those with low-incomes.
-The National Institutes of Health and the Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office are currently funding transgender community-related research projects both in the United States and abroad.
-HHS is exploring new initiatives to improve the collection of sexual orientation and gender expression (SOGI) to identify and address the unique health needs of the LGBTQ community.
-In May 2021, HHS updated its enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, announcing that the prohibition on sex discrimination in healthcare also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. If you have experienced discrimination in healthcare, you can learn more and file a complaint here: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html
-In February 2021, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would enforce the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
-In April 2021, HUD officially withdrew a harmful and discriminatory proposed rule that would have allowed shelters to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming people experiencing homelessness. HUD also reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to enforcing the Equal Access Rule, which requires that grantees provide access to shelter in accordance with an individual’s self-identified gender identity. HUD has reposted technical assistance materials to help shelters ensure transgender people are able to access shelters safely.
– HUD is working to refine its data collection practices to better capture SOGI data. This data will be used to better understand the prevalence of homelessness among LGBTQ people and to address incidents of housing discrimination. The collection of SOGI data will also be used to help LGBTQ communities understand their rights under the Equal Access Rule and the Fair Housing Act. If you have experienced discrimination in housing, you can learn more and file a complaint here: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint
4. Progress For Hate Crimes, Employment Protections, and Transgender Prisoners
-In March 2021, the Attorney General called for an expedited review of how the Department of Justice (DOJ) can improve enforcement of laws that prohibit hate crimes, including those based on actual or perceived gender identity.
– In May 2021, the DOJ issued a new Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to affirm its commitment to equal employment and to ensure that neither applicants nor employees are denied equal opportunity because of gender identity and other characteristics.
-The DOJ filed a number of Statements of Interest in court advocating to protect transgender individuals’ rights. One Statement was on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman who reported repeated sexual assaults while serving time in a men’s prison. This Statement explained that the Constitution requires prisons to provide protection from sexual abuse to all prisoners, including transgender people. The DOJ also filed Statements of Interest in court cases in West Virginia and Arkansas to uphold the rights of transgender youth against the surge of anti-transgender legislation being introduced in states all across the country.
– If you or someone you know is facing discrimination on the basis of gender identity, you can inform the DOJ at https://civilrights.justice.gov/
5. Lending, Banking, and Other Financial Institutions
-In March 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interpretive rule stating that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) makes it illegal for lenders to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If you have experienced discrimination from lenders, banks, or other financial institutions, you can learn more and file a complaint here: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/