Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden signs "historic" executive order to protect LGBTQ people

President Biden, flanked by youth activist Javier Gomez, delivers remarks during a reception celebrating Pride Month in the East Room of the White House on June 15, 2022. Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to strengthen protections for people in the LGBTQ community as states attempt to pass a raft of controversial anti-LGBTQ measures.

Driving the news: Biden signed the order to commemorate Pride Month, while hosting families, advocates and allies who have been impacted by these restrictive state measures.

By the numbers: Over 300 anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced in state legislatures this year, per the White House.

  • Over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth said recent debates over state laws that target transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, according to a poll by the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

Details: The order will protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, a practice which is banned in at least 20 states and Washington, D.C., according to Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that tracks LGBTQ policies across the U.S.

  • It will also set up programs to address the LGBTQ youth mental health crisis and prevent suicide within this population "by expanding access to suicide prevention resources," senior administration officials said.
  • The order will launch a new initiative "to address the discrimination that children and parents face in the foster care system."
  • Biden is also directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop "a new bill of rights for LGBTQI+ seniors."
  • Senior administration officials said that the actions will be taken "within the existing budgets of agencies."

What he's saying: "No one knows better than people in this room, we have a lot more work to do. I don't have to tell you about the ultra MAGA agenda, attacking families and our freedoms. ... These attacks are real and consequential for real families," Biden said.

  • "My order will use of the full force of the federal government to prevent inhumane practices of conversion therapy. This is the first time the federal government is making a coordinated response against this dangerous, discredited practice," the president added.
  • "We're in a battle for the very soul of this nation, and that's not hyperbole. ... It's a battle I know we will win."

"President Biden always stands up to bullies. And that's what these extreme MAGA laws and policies do — they bully kids," senior administration officials told reporters in a press call. 

  • "Hateful, discriminatory laws that target children are out of line with where the American people are. And President Biden is going to use his executive authority to protect kids and families."
  • "[T]are important new actions that will improve the health, wellbeing, and safety of countless families across the country."

LGBTQ rights groups praised Biden's executive order, with Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, saying that it "will help save young LGBTQ lives."

Go deeper: Best and worst states for LGBTQ+ equality

Editor's note: This post was updated to reflect that Biden has signed the executive order.

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