Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
President Joe Biden has signed an executive order in an effort to combat the number of anti-LGBTQ bills that are appearing across the US.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) more than 320 are being considered this year, which the advocacy group says is a record number.
Speaking to LGBTQ activists and Democrats at the White House on Wednesday (15 June) Biden said: "We’re in a battle for the soul of the nation."
"You are loved"
Continuing he said he knew "we will win," and tried to reassure young LGBTQ people who may be worried about the seemingly hostile climate developing around the US.
"My message to all the young people: Just be you. You are loved. You are understood. You do belong. I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage, have your back," Biden said.
Under the executive order, as reported by NBC, federal health and education agencies will be asked to expand access to gender-affirming care and push for greater inclusive education.
Funding for 'conversion therapy' will be curbed as well. A committee will also look at improving data relating to sexuality and/or gender identity collected from across government agencies.
It was applauded by the likes of The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention charity. Amit Paley, the charity's CEO, called it "historic" and predicted oit would "save lives."
They added. "It’s past time that we put an end to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion ‘therapy,’ and expand access to the affirming care LGBTQ young people actually need to survive and thrive."
“Despite recent and relentless political attacks, we are hopeful that this will move us forward toward a day where all LGBTQ young people can be themselves without fear of discrimination or violence.”
— Our CEO, @amitpaley 🌈 #Pridehttps://t.co/Oy8xZMYvdv— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) June 15, 2022
As promising as this sounds, executive orders in the US are delicate objects that can easily be undone by a future president.
It also comes against the backdrop of an increasingly hostile environment for the LGBTQ community in the US.
The passing of Florida's 'Don't Say Gay, Don't Say Trans' bill, which will prevent LGBTQ topics from being discussed in schools, has led to similar bills being introduced across the US. That bill is due to come into effect on 1 July.
At the same time, states are introducing bills that prevent trans youth from playing school sports teams that match their gender identity or preventing them from accessing the necessary toilets and changing rooms.
On Saturday (11 June) 31 white supremacists were arrested in Idaho and charged with plotting to riot at an LGBTQ+ Pride event.
According to police, only one person came from Idaho with the rest coming from Those arrested came from Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas.
The Attitude July/August issue is out now.