By Alex Lord-Wilkinson, Policy Intern, Pizzigati Fellow
On Wednesday, June 15th, 2022 the President issued an Executive Order (EO) on “Advancing Equality for LGBTQI+ Individuals.” The Executive Order directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other key agencies to establish initiatives to support LGBTQ children and families and address discriminatory state legislation. The order aims to respond to a “cascade” of anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been introduced and passed in states over the past year.
Within 200 days, HHS and the Department of Education are directed to issue sample policies for states that safeguard and expand LGBTQ families’ access to medical care and educational support. HHS will also develop an action plan to reduce the risk of exposure to conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth and eradicate the harmful practice internationally.
Key directives in the order also include initiatives to address barriers and improve support for LGBTQ children and families in the foster care system. HHS will partner with state child welfare agencies to provide training and guidance on supporting LGBTQ+ youth in foster care and LGBTQ+ parents and caregivers. The order also provides direction on assessing and preventing homelessness and housing instability for LGBTQ families with a focus on LGBTQ youth.
The orders’ announcement was accompanied by a continued call to the Senate to pass the Equality Act – legislation that will provide key civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans and their families. “My message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are understood. You do belong,” Biden said at the White House signing ceremony on Wednesday. “I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage, have your back.”
Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) celebrated the EO on Twitter.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a press statement.