President Biden has issued a proclamation for Transgender Day of Visibility, the first time a sitting president has done so.
“Today, we honor and celebrate the achievements and resiliency of transgender individuals and communities,” the president says in the statement. “Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world. Their trailblazing work has given countless transgender individuals the bravery to live openly and authentically.”
In the proclamation, the president addresses the LGBTQ+-affirming policies of his administration, including its reversal of the Trump administration’s trans military ban, his executive order preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity, and the nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The president also calls on the Senate to pass the Equality Act in order to guarantee further protections for the LGBTQ+.
Despite progress, the proclamation also states that, “too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” including discrimination, harassment, violence, a homelessness. The president also refers to the “crisis of violence” against trans women as “a stain on our Nation’s conscience.”
The Human Rights Campaign reports that in 2021 there have been 12 violent deaths of trans and gender non-conforming persons. The agency tracked 44 in 2020, making it the most violent year on record.
And around the country, state legislatures have proposed or passed a number of bills that could curb trans access to healthcare, and ban trans athletes from competing on sports teams that correspond to their gender identity. Most recently, on Monday the Arkansas Senate passed legislation that would ban gender affirming treatments for minors.
The President concluded the proclamation by stating that both he and Vice President Harris “affirm that transgender Americans make our Nation more prosperous, vibrant, and strong. I urge my fellow Americans to join us in uplifting the worth and dignity of every transgender person.”