Joe Biden applauded for finally taking action on anti-LGBTQ+ bills: ‘It cannot be overstated’

President Biden sits at a desk, signing an executive order, while LGBT+ advocates watch

LGBTQ+ groups have welcomed Joe Biden taking action against conversion therapy and Republican attacks on trans youth.

Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday (15 June) designed to protect LGBTQ+ people from the hateful discrimination of conversion therapy and an onslaught of state legislation targeting trans people.

The order instructs that federal education and health departments broaden access to gender-affirming care. In addition to this, Biden suggests that “new ways” be found to help combat the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ bills aimed at trans youth passed by various state lawmakers this year.

On conversion therapy, Biden wants to “crack down” on the practice through risk-reduction and awareness initiatives, and by ensuring federal funds are not and cannot be used to abuse LGBTQ+ people.

Biden gave a message of acceptance as he signed the order.

“Just be you,” he said. “You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You do belong. And I want you to know that, as your president, all of us on the stage have your back. We have your back.”

GLAAD CEO and president, Sarah Kate Ellis, attended the signing.

“At a time when anti-LGBTQ misinformation and rhetoric is at a peak, the importance of LGBTQ visibility at the White House cannot be overstated,” she later tweeted.

“Today’s LGBTQ Pride Month reception and the signing of an executive order strengthening critical protections for our community help show the world that LGBTQ Americans are a valued and respected part of this country, and we aren’t going anywhere.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality added: “We applaud the Biden administration’s commitment to protecting trans people from such damaging attempts to erase who we are.”

Joining the sea of voices, GLSEN executive director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, said: “We thank the president for taking action to defend young people from an extreme anti-LGBTQ+ agenda and advance a vision of positive school transformation that prioritises the needs of LGBTQ+ youth who should at minimum expect to be safe at school.”

They continued: “Today, at least 14 states have enacted curriculum censorship laws that seek to erase and stigmatise people of colour, women, and/or LGBTQ+ communities.

“Lawmakers in 17 states enacted legislation to discriminate against trans and non-binary athletes. Efforts to pass policies that criminalise and further victimise young people, particularly LGBTQ+ BIPOC youth, are rampant. GLSEN will continue to rise up to defeat this destructive wave of discriminatory legislation and advance our vision of schools as places of liberation in communities across the country.”

It’s been an extremely difficult year for the LGBTQ+ community in America. As the percentage of those who identify as LGBTQ+ has doubled within the last decade, an increase in hate crimes, particularly towards the trans community, has been felt.

Experts are concerned that hate speech from anti-LGBTQ+ influencers will be taken as a “call to action” by extremist groups.

This comes in response to the arrest of 31 members of a white supremacist group found with riot gear near a Pride event in Idaho on 11 June.