Following the media’s projection of his victory in the 2020 presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden has made “sweeping promises” to LGBT activists, according to The Associated Press.
Biden, a Democrat, plans to “carry out virtually every proposal” that LGBT activists have pushed for in recent years, the AP said. Biden’s agenda includes allowing individuals who identify as transgender to enlist in the military, as well as allow trans-identified servicemen to enter women's-only areas (and vice versa), and cover trans-surgeries and cross-sex hormones for members of the military. He also plans to require all government contractors to have anti-LGBT discrimination policies, and will create LGBT rights positions at the State Department, National Security Agency, and other federal agencies.
The Biden campaign’s website includes a lengthy document detailing “the Biden plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world.”
“The Equality Act is the best vehicle for ensuring equal rights under the law for LGBTQ+ Americans, and will guarantee that LGBTQ+ individuals are protected under existing civil rights laws,” the document states.
The Equality Act, the passage of which Biden has vowed to make a “top legislative priority” during his first 100 days in office, has received criticism from conservatives over its implications for religious liberty.
Meanwhile, many female athletes, including progressives, have expressed concern that the legislation will put biological female athletes at a disadvantage by allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s sports.
The Equality Act, which passed in the Democrat-controlled House last year, failed to become law after stalling in the Republican-controlled Senate.
While the passage of the Equality Act would require cooperation from the Senate, Biden plans to take several executive actions such as rolling back “broad exemptions” to nondiscrimination laws that his campaign argues allow “businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, state and local government officials, and others to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.” Among the things this plan would do is require medical staff to perform elective procedures on trans-identified individuals even if doing so goes against their religious beliefs.
Biden has also vowed to ban “adoption and foster care agencies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ families” from receiving federal funds.
Last month, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case asking whether the city of Philadelphia acted unlawfully by refusing to place children with a Catholic foster agency that does not place children with same-sex parents in light of the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality. A decision is forthcoming.
In addition to promising to “restore full implementation of [former] President Barack Obama’s executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors,” Biden has announced his intention to “work with civil rights leaders to develop and institute implicit bias training programs for federal workers and contractors to address discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.”
A Biden administration would “direct the U.S. Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from discrimination.” Additionally, Biden would work to “ensure all transgender individuals have access to identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity” by giving individuals the option to change their gender marker to “M,” “F,” or “X” on government documents.
Biden has also promised to restore Obama-era guidance that allows trans-identified students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that correspond to their chosen gender identity as opposed to using facilities designated for their biological gender.
The Biden campaign’s policy document also calls for a ban on therapy and counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction, which is called sexual orientation change efforts therapy. The Biden campaign derisively refers to this form of talk therapy as "conversion therapy," and claims that it is “deeply harmful, highly unscientific, and often leads to trauma.”
Last month, a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that bans on SOCE therapy in Palm Beach County and Boca Raton, Florida, were unconstitutional.
While the majority of Biden’s LGBT agenda focuses on domestic policy, the former vice president has also signaled a desire to make LGBT activism a centerpiece of his foreign policy, proposing a series of new positions in the executive branch dedicated to achieving this goal.
Proposed positions include: “a point person for LGBTQ+ rights on the National Security Council to drive a cohesive message and strategy across our engagement with individual countries and regions,” a “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ+ Persons at the Department of State to coordinate diplomatic efforts and combat homophobia, transphobia, and stigma globally,” and a “Special Coordinator in charge of international LGBTQ+ programming at USAID.”