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President Joe Biden and First lady Jill Biden on April 25. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden invited 16-year-old Stella Keating, the first transgender teen to testify before the U.S. Senate, as one of her virtual guests to President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Keating's invitation comes amid a record number of Republican-backed bills introduced this year targeting trans youth — and after Biden's White House has brought national political attention to trans rights.

  • Keating, who testified in support of the Equality Act, also appears to be the first transgender person invited to a joint session of Congress by a president or first lady.
  • Transgender service members were invited to former President Trump's 2018 and 2019 State of the Union addresses by Democrats in protest of the administration's ban on trans people serving in the U.S. military.

Go deeper

Tennessee sued over school bathroom policy for trans students

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images

LGBTQ advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Tennessee over a state law barring transgender students and staff from using public school restrooms that align with their gender identity.

Why it matters: Under the law, which went into effect on July 1, schools must provide a "reasonable accommodation" — such as a single-occupancy or employee restroom — to students, faculty or staff who are "unwilling or unable" to use the restroom that aligns with their birth-assigned sex. HRC argues the law singles out trans children and can cause students to avoid using restrooms entirely for fear of being bullied.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Aug 3, 2021 - Sports

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard: "It gets better"

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympics. Ina Fried/Axios

Laurel Hubbard, speaking to reporters after becoming the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympics, on Tuesday expressed gratitude for the opportunity to compete as an athlete and convince transgender people to work through adversity.

What she's saying: "All I have ever really wanted as an athlete is just to be regarded as an athlete," Hubbard, said in response to a question from Axios. "I suppose the thing I have been so grateful here in Tokyo is just being given those opportunities to just go through life as any other athlete."

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.