WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is issuing the power of an executive order to stymie what the White House says are discriminatory legislative attacks on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states.
On Wednesday he signed an executive order at a Pride Month event at the White House because the Biden administration said it "believes that no one should face discrimination because of who they are or whom they love."
The White House said the order seeks to discourage “conversion therapy,” which is a discredited practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Children who are exposed to so-called “conversion therapy” face higher rates of attempted suicide and trauma," the White House said.
In a statement from the White House the administration said that Biden's executive action focus on the issue in the following ways:
- Addressing discriminatory legislative attacks against LGBTQI+ children and families, directing key agencies to protect families and children;
- Preventing so-called “conversion therapy” with a historic initiative to protect children from the harmful practice;
- Safeguarding health care, and programs designed to prevent youth suicide;
- Supporting LGBTQI+ children and families by launching a new initiative to protect foster youth, prevent homelessness, and improve access to federal programs; and
- Taking new, additional steps to advance LGBTQI+ equality.
The order also is intended to promote gender-affirming surgery and expanded foster care protections for gay and transgender parents and children.
The White House says the action is meant to counter 300-plus anti-LGBTQ laws introduced by state lawmakers over the past year alone.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a reception on Wednesday featuring LGBTQ activists, members of Congress and top administration officials.
Among them was Javier Gomez, who led rallies in Florida to protest the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, also known as the "Parental Rights in Education" bill which bans instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades kintergarten through grade 3 in the state by school personnel or "third parties."