Years ago, when it was observed that the battle for marriage equality is waning, there was some concern among LGBTQ activists that victory over that one issue – as important as it is – is the myriad ways in which LGBTQ people will continue to face discrimination . They were right. In the years since the Supreme Court legislated marriage equality to the land, voting has suggested that the broader American public believes that the federal government equally protects LGBTQ people from discrimination.
In fact, it is also not the most.
These significant victories should not allow us to lose sight of all that is being done, especially for transgender Americans.
Apart from marriage equality and employment rights (governed by the Supreme Court only last June), there is no nationwide discrimination for LGBTQ people. As a proud transgender woman and military veteran, I am certainly grateful that President Joe Biden has acted quickly this week with executive orders on discrimination in the federal government based on gender identity and sexual orientation Sanctions and supersedes former President Donald. Trump’s trans military ban. However, these important victories should not allow us to lose sight of everything we have done, especially for transgender Americans.
Last summer, the Supreme Court delivered a surprise verdict in Bossock v. Clayton County with a 6-3 majority, stating that both gender identity and sexual orientation under “sex” in relation to employment rights for LGBTQ people Come. The executive order issued by Biden on his first day in office expanded this legal argument to include all areas of public policy within the jurisdiction of the federal government.
But even though this is an important moment for trans rights, Biden’s order does not include state and local courts. In most of the United States, LGBTQ people – especially trans people – are still vulnerable to discrimination in housing, debt, public housing, jury selection and other aspects of the public square. For example, there are trans people who live in states in which they cannot be fired for their gender identity, but lack the basic protection against discrimination for things that use a public toilet that their gender Aligns with identity or rent apartment.
The solution to this problem is the Equality Act, proposed legislation that would ban all forms of discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation throughout the United States. Although highly popular – about 70 percent of Americans support it in consecutive voting – the legislation failed in the last congressional session because Mitch McConnell, then Senate chief leader, refused to bring it to the floor for consideration. This was despite bipartisan passage in the House and widespread support from clergy, business leaders and other constituencies. The Equality Act is expected to be passed by the House again, and we need to make sure that when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer makes it to the Senate floor, we are pressuring our senators to finally do the right thing .
And there are areas of policy, especially for the trans and non-people, which can also be addressed without congressional action. Biden needs to ensure that the federal government immediately reinstates policies that allow disorganized trans individuals to be placed in facilities that align with their gender identity. It was President Barack Obama and George W. The policy was under Bush. He may order that transgender asylum seekers and people living with HIV and AIDS be released immediately from immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) custody, among other groups. He should announce an aggressive plan to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic. He should also form an LGBTQ Equity Advisory Council to lead his administration’s efforts to remove the broader barriers facing LGBTQ people.
Perhaps, most immediately, Biden needs to implement a comprehensive plan to address the ongoing epidemic of violence against trans and nonways. Last year, at least 44 trans and nonbinary were killed in the United States, the deadliest year on record. Highly, the victims were Black and Brown trans women. Only four weeks into the new year, two trans people have already died: Tyna Alexander, a 28-year-old black trans woman in Chicago, and Samuel Edmund Damian Valentin, a trans man in Puerto Rico. Recently in Puerto Rico, a state of emergency was declared, in response to horrific violence against women and trans people.
The movement for equality is a continuous effort. The LGBTQ disparity did not end when homosexuality was declared a law of the land in the United States nearly two decades ago or the same marriage by the Supreme Court about six years ago. Despite having an amazing first week for LGBTQ rights in the Biden administration, there is still so much work left that all people are able to live, work and love in our country. I believe this new administration is committed to that fight, but the clock begins now. let’s get to work.