President Biden announced several executive actions Wednesday afternoon to address discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ children and adults, as a number of states enactmeasures.
"The message is simple: Pride is back at the White House," Mr. Biden said at a White Houseevent where the executive actions were unveiled.
They direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work with states to expandand access to youth mental health counseling, strengthen non-discrimination protections in the foster care system, and clarify that federally funded programs cannot offer the widely discredited practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
"My order will use a full force the federal government to prevent inhumane practices of conversion therapy," Mr. Biden said. "This is the first time the federal government is using a coordinated response against this dangerous, discredited practice."
A senior administration official who described the measures didn't point to any specific use of federal funds for conversion therapy, but said the executive action will help HHS lawyers enforce any future attempts.
HHS will also be charged with releasing "new sample policies for states on how to expand access to comprehensive healthcare" for LGBTQ patients, the official said. The Department of Education will be similarly directed to release a "full inclusion" policy at schools.
On his first day in office, Mr. Biden issued an executive order clarifying that gay and transgender people are protected against discrimination at school, work and other areas. He directed federal agencies to review existing policies and regulations that prohibit sex discrimination, and amend them as needed to underscore that discrimination because of sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBTQ rights, particularly for transgender children and teens, have been a focus of Republican lawmakers, with states proposing limiting participation in sports, as well as discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms.
Sean Conlon contributed reporting.
for more features.