President Joe Biden continues to show his support and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community within his first few weeks as President.
First, President Biden overturned an anti-LGBTQ+ memo that was issued by the Trump administration on the way out. The memo was created days before Trump left office and attempted to reduce the protections granted to the LGBTQ+ community by Bostock v. Clayton County, which protects employees from discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation. The goal of the anti-LGBTQ+ memo was to allow religious organizations to be exempt from the ruling of the case. The memo also exempted the Department of Justice from the ruling, allowing it to restrict facilities — like bathrooms — based on biological sex.
However, the memo was removed from the Department of Justice website last week. Greg Friel, who is temporarily leading the Justice Department’s civil rights division, issued a directive to revoke the memorandum because he “determined [it] is inconsistent in many respects with the [Executive Order],” which Biden signed to protect federal LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination.
Secondly, President Biden is expected to sign another executive order today that reverses a ban on transgender military service. While Biden often flaunted that he would overturn the ruling on day one on the campaign trail, he wanted to wait until the Senate confirmation of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to Washington Blade. Austin was confirmed on Friday and noted during the ceremony that he supports reversing the trans military ban.
“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve, and you can expect that I will support that throughout,” said Austin.
The transgender military ban was announced in July 2017 by Trump on Twitter but didn’t come into effect until April 2019, after a series of legal challenges. The ban forced trans military service people into a period of uncertainty, despite Trump claiming the policy wasn’t an outright ban on trans troops but rather a directive that trans people would have to serve as the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans troops who were currently serving were allowed to remain in the forces, but service people who came out as trans after the policy was enacted were not allowed to transition.