them., by Oliver Haug: In a historic move, President Joe Biden released a proclamation on Wednesday honoring Transgender Day of Visibility.
A statement issued by the POTUS celebrated 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.” Biden also proclaimed the administration’s commitment to “stamping out discrimination and delivering freedom and equality for all.”
“In spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” the proclamation read.
Biden cited the high rates of “violence, harassment, and discrimination” experienced by trans people, writing that “nearly one in three transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at some point in life.” He called the high rates of violence experienced by trans women (and trans women of color, in particular) a “crisis” and a “stain on our nation’s conscience.”
The 78-year-old is the first president to formally honor Trans Day of Visibility. Past Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama issued proclamations recognizing June as Pride month, while Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and George Bush did not. President Donald Trump recognized Pride month for the first time in the last year of his presidency, by way of a tweet.
The Obama administration also recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors the lives of trans people who have experienced transphobic violence.
The Biden administration’s support of trans rights is notable coming on the heels of an administration that was notoriously hostile toward trans people. Of the more than 181 anti-LGBTQ+ policies pushed during Trump’s 4 years in office, highlights include rolling back health care protections for trans people, rolling back Obama-era anti-discrimination protections, and appointing judges with anti-LGBTQ+ records. According to Lambda Legal, one in three Trump-appointed judges has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ advocacy.
Biden’s proclamation mentions his administration’s recent pro-LGBTQ+ actions, including his day-one executive order calling for the enforcement of LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections, as ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County. In the landmark June 2020 ruling, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination because they are LGBTQ+.
He also mentioned Dr. Rachel Levine’s confirmation as assistant secretary for health last week and his repeal of the Trump administration’s trans military ban — which was solidified on Wednesday with the release of new Pentagon policies designed to support trans service members.
In the proclamation, the president also called for the passage of the Equality Act, a landmark LGBTQ+ rights bill which recently passed the House but is expected to encounter trouble in the Senate due to GOP opposition.
“Vice President Harris and I affirm that transgender Americans make our Nation more prosperous, vibrant, and strong,” concluded his proclamation, which was accompanied by pro-trans tweets from Harris herself. “I urge my fellow Americans to join us in uplifting the worth and dignity of every transgender person.”
Biden’s campaign platform foregrounded his promise to advance LGBTQ+ rights through policy action. In addition to his commitment to passing the Equality Act within his first 100 days, he has called to increase safety for incarcerated transgender people, supporting transgender and nonbinary people in the workforce and working towards ending violence against trans women of color, among other promises.
In addition to being the first president to recognize Trans Day of Visibility, Biden was also the first president-elect to mention trans people in his acceptance speech. In doing so he followed in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who in 2008 was the first president to mention gay Americans in his victory speech.
Trans Day of Visibility, created by psychotherapist Rachel Crandall-Crocker in 2009, honors the lives and activism of trans people all over the world. This year activists are using the day to draw attention to the multitude of attacks trans youth are facing in statehouses this year and the potential life-threatening consequences for those youth if the bills are passed.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded … Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:28, 30.