Biden Accountability Tracker

Biden Accountability Tracker
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Moves
in Days

GLAAD is monitoring the Biden administration's executive orders, legislative support, speeches and nominations that affect LGBTQ people and rights.

06.07.2021 Vice President Harris, in her first overseas trip in office, meets with LGBTQ advocates in Guatemala. Vice President Harris acknowledged vulnerable communities they work with in her remarks before the roundtable meeting: “When we met last time, I was so moved to hear about the work that you have been doing, the work that has been about helping women and children, indigenous, LGBTQ, Afro-descendants, people who have long been overlooked or neglected.” Visibles of Guatemala tweeted: “Today we participated in a meeting with the vice president of the United States to talk about development opportunities for Guatemala and the search for inclusive justice. We, as an organization, spoke about the importance of addressing discrimination and acts of violence towards LGBTIQ+ people.”

06.07.201 Tweets: "To transgender Americans across the country — especially the young people who are so brave — I want you to know your President has your back. During Pride Month — and all the time."

06.05.2021 Acknowledges the 40th anniversary of the first HIV/AIDS cases to be diagnosed. Official statement from the White House recognizes the devastation and announces new additional funding: “… more than 700,000 Americans and 32.7 million people worldwide have been lost to AIDS-related illnesses – a heartbreaking human toll that has disproportionately devastated LGBTQ+ communities, communities of color, and underserved and marginalized people around the world… I have requested $670 million from Congress, an increase of $267 million over previous levels, to aggressively reduce new HIV cases by increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and ensuring equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination.”

06.04.2021 Pride flag raised over the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy for the first time. Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted: "Throughout the Department of @ENERGY, members of the LGBTQ+ community are our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues, and world-leading scientists. Regrettably, still today, they are underrepresented in our workforce, in the broader scientific community, and face discrimination across our country. We’re humbled by the triumphs of the trailblazers that came before, and at @ENERGY we’re fighting to ensure that the clean energy future we’re striving for is an equitable one." Homeland Security tweeted: "Today @SecMayorkas raised the #pride flag at our headquarters for the first time. Flying over our DC campus, this flag is a symbol of our commitment to our LGBTQ+ employees and the whole community."

06.01.2021 The US Mission to the United Nations as well US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tweets statement for Pride: "The struggle to end violence, discrimination, criminalization, and stigma against LGBTQI+ people is a global challenge that deserves a global response. This Pride Month and every month, everyone should be treated with dignity and respect no matter who they are or whom they love."

06.01.2021 State Department issues statement for Pride month: “The Department has committed to increasing U.S. engagement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) human rights issues abroad. The Department has committed to increasing U.S. engagement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) human rights issues abroad. As we do so, we work with partners around the world who bring to bear expertise on their unique challenges and innovative solutions. We recognize that, through these partnerships, we will be able to build a safer, more inclusive global society for all LGBTQI+ persons. We also strive to increase visibility of and address the acute challenges faced by particularly marginalized LGBTQI+ communities, including women and girls; racial and religious minorities; persons with disabilities; and transgender, gender diverse, and intersex persons.” Embassies, including the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and other embassies in countries where LGBTQ rights are not recognized, raise and fly Pride flags. The Embassy to the Holy See in Vatican City tweeted: “The United States respects the dignity and equality of LGBTQI+ people. LGBTQI+ rights are human rights.”

06.01.2021 Issues proclamation on first day of Pride, recognizing progress for LGBTQ Americans and recommitting to solidarity for equality: “Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought -- and continue to fight -- for full equality. Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.”

05.26.2021 Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre becomes the first out gay woman to lead the White House daily press briefing and the first Black woman to do so in thirty years. Jean-Pierre led the briefing by announcing that the Senate had confirmed Kristen Clarke as the first woman and first woman of color to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Jean-Pierre acknowledged her historic moment and her role serving the country: “It’s a real honor to be standing here today. I appreciate the historic nature, I really do. But I believe that being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building, is not about one person. It’s about what we do on behalf of the American people.”

05.26.2021 Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced as the keynote speaker at a Pentagon event recognizing Pride Month. The Washington Blade reports the event theme is “Respect, Dignity and Service,” and the announcement describes the event as “crucial to ensuring continued LGBT visibility as we continue to work toward greater equality in the workplace.” No Defense Secretary had appeared at the annual Pride event during the previous administration.

05.18.2021 U.S. State Department announces it will grant citizenship to babies born abroad to married couples with at least one American parent: “Children born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen and who are married to each other at the time of the birth, will be U.S. citizens from birth if they have a genetic or gestational tie to at least one of their parents and meet the INA’s [Immigration and Nationality Act] other requirements.  Previously, the Department’s interpretation and application of the INA required that children born abroad have a genetic or gestational relationship to a U.S. citizen parent.” The new policy ensures American and binational couples who use surrogates or other reproductive assistance to give birth overseas can pass along citizenship to their children. A previously enforced policy required a child born abroad have a biological connection to an American parent to receive citizenship at birth, a distinction that was applied unfairly to same-sex couples, several of whom sued the State Department when their child was not recognized as a U.S. citizen.

05.17.2021 Issues statement commemorating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB): “…both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color.  Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships.  And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services. My Administration will always stand with the LGBTQI+ community.”

05.10.2021 Announces Department of Health and Human Services will once again prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by healthcare organizations that receive federal funding. Reverses policy rollback the previous administration had announced on June 12, 2020, four years to the day of the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people, most of whom were LGBTQ.

The First 100 Days

04.28.2021 Urges passage of the Equality Act and affirms support for transgender American, in his first presidential address to Congress. “I also hope Congress can get to my desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans. To all the transgender Americans watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back." First Lady Dr. Jill Biden invites transgender teenager Stella Keating to her “virtual guest box.” Keating was the first transgender teenager to testify before a Senate committee at a hearing for the Equality Act in March.

04.28.2021 Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power confirmed as administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is also a vocal champion of LGBTQ rights. “People are suffering terribly around the world simply because of who they love and who they are,” Power told the Washington Blade during a 2017 interview. “Their own horizons are bounded. Their own travel plans are constricted because these rights are violated so blatantly and so brutally around the world.”

04.27.2021 Announces intention to nominate out veteran Gina Ortiz-Jones as Under Secretary of the Air Force. From the White House announcement: “A member of the LGBTQ community, Ms. Jones served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Upon separation from the Air Force, Ms. Jones advised on military operations in Central and South America with the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade and U.S. Army South. She joined the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as an inaugural member of U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany and served in the Libya Crisis Intelligence Cell.”

04.26.2021 Vice President Harris acknowledges violence against LGBTQ people as a root cause of migration to the U.S., in meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala. VP Harris said: “[T]he people of Guatemala have been suffering greatly because of the recent hurricanes, the persistent drought, and, of course, the damage from COVID-19.  And as we have discussed, these are the acute factors that, in many ways, are causing people to leave their homes despite the fact that they would probably prefer to stay. There are also longstanding issues that are often called the “root causes” of immigration.  We are looking at the issue of poverty and the lack, therefore, of economic opportunities; the issue of extreme weather conditions and the lack of climate adaptation; as well as corruption and the lack of good governance; and violence against women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants. And we want to work with you to address both the acute causes as well as the root causes in a way that will bring hope to the people of Guatemala that there will be an opportunity for them if they stay at home.“ 

04.23.2021 State Department will allow U.S. missions overseas to once again fly the LGBT Pride flag on their official flagpoles, according to an internal State Department cable obtained by ABC News. The policy, announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, repeals his predecessor Mike Pompeo's effective ban on Pride flags flying at U.S. embassies and consulates.

04.23.2021 Announces intentions to nominate West Point graduate Army veteran and out lesbian Sue Fulton for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense. Fulton helped push for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" The White House statement says: "Fulton founded and led SPARTA to successfully end the transgender ban, while at the same time providing counsel to Army leaders on removing the combat exclusion rule and integrating women in the combat arms. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as the first openly gay member of the West Point Board of Visitors, and she was later elected Chair (twice) with strong bipartisan support. During 8 years on the Board, she successfully advocated for significant increases in admissions of Black, Latino, and women cadets."

04.23.2021 Announces intentions to nominate Shawn Skelly, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense. Skelly served 20+ years in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, retiring from active duty as a Commander. The White House statement notes that Skelly "is Vice President and Co-Founder of Out in National Security, a member of the Atlantic Council’s LGBTI Advisory Council, and a member of the Service Year Alliance Leadership Council." If confirmed by the Senate, Skelly would be the highest-ranking defense official who is openly transgender.

04.22.2021 Dept. of Justice files a statement of interest on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a Black trans woman and activist for the rights of incarcerated people. Diamond is suing Georgia's Dept. of Corrections for being imprisoned and housed with men, where she was harassed and sexually assaulted. The statement says "The United States submits that the Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to conduct individualized assessments that lead to reasonably safe conditions of confinement and adequate medical care for all prisoners" and that prison officials violate both the U.S. Constitution and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) by “categorically refusing to assign transgender prisoners to housing that corresponds to their gender identity even if an individualized risk assessment indicates that doing so is necessary to mitigate a substantial risk of serious harm, and [by] failing to individualize the medical care of transgender prisoners for the treatment of gender dysphoria.”

04.22.2021 Dept. of Housing and Urban Development formally withdraws Trump-era proposed rule change to reaffirm the right of transgender people to seek shelters matching their gender identity. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge: “Access to safe, stable housing-and shelter-is a basic necessity. Unfortunately, transgender and gender non-conforming people report more instances of housing instability and homelessness than cis-gender people. Today, we are taking a critical step in affirming HUD’s commitment that no person be denied access to housing or other critical services because of their gender identity. HUD is open for business for all.”

04.12.2021 Announces intention to nominate Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus for Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He would be the first openly gay CBP commissioner. The White House statement notes:  "He received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and his master’s degree in Labor Relations from Michigan State University. Magnus attended the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.  He has been with his husband, Terrance Cheung, for 15 years."

04.08.2021 Pres. Biden acknowledges survivors and the loss of LGBTQ lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando nearly five years ago, in announcing policies to address gun violence.

03.31.2021 The Dept. of Defense issues policy updates allowing transgender Americans to once again serve openly in the military: “The revised policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or an individual’s identification as transgender, provide a means by which to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender provided all appropriate standards are met, provide a path for those in service for medical treatment, gender transition, and recognition in one’s self-identified gender, and seeks to protect the privacy of all Service members and to treat all Service members with dignity and respect.” The new policy will be effective April 30, 2021.

03.31.2021 President Biden issues statement proclaiming March 31, 2021, Transgender Day of Visibility, which “recognizes 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.” Pres. Biden is the first president to issue such a proclamation. Transgender Day of Visibility was first recognized in 2009.

03.26.2021 Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issues memo that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision expanding protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace can be extended to Title IX claims. “I hope this memorandum provides a starting point for your agencies to ensure the consistent and robust enforcement of Title IX, in furtherance of the commitment that every person should be treated with respect and dignity,” says the memo from Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan.

03.24.2021 Dr. Rachel Levine becomes first out transgender presidential nominee to be confirmed by the Senate. Dr. Levine is Assistant Secretary for Health in the Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the highest-ranking transgender federal official.

03.08.2021 On International Women's Day, signs executive order to guarantee all students "an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

03.08.2021 Creates Gender Policy Council with the goal of advancing equality and equity for women and girls, and ensure the federal government works to advance equal rights and opportunity, regardless of gender or gender identity. The executive order includes LGBTQ people as among those who "suffer discrimination based on multiple factors, including membership in an underserved community."

03.02.2021 Gina Raimondo sworn in as Secretary of Commerce. Raimondo, as the first female governor of Rhode Island, signed a bill updating the state's parenting and adoption laws saying, "No parent should have to jump through hoops to receive legal recognition because of their sexual orientation or the circumstances of their child's birth." Gov. Raimondo also restored veterans benefits to military veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and signed a law banning so-called "conversion therapy."

03.01.2021 Miguel Cardona confirmed as Secretary of Education. Cardona, a former public school teacher, principal and administrator, upheld the rights of transgender students during his confirmation hearing: “I think it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender... I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities, even if they’re transgender. I think that’s their right.”

03.01.2021 Vice President Harris tweets: "Women make history every day. Some we know—the Suffragettes, the Riveters. The stories of others—especially women of color and LGBTQ women—have gone untold. This Women’s History Month, we honor these women and all women."

02.25.2021 Dr. Rachel Levine becomes the first presidential appointee to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing. Levine discussed her record in public health, pediatric care, and the battles against opioid addiction and Covid-19. Levine also endured invasive and transphobic questioning from Sen. Rand Paul during the hearing.

02.25.2021 Tweets: "Transgender rights are human rights — and the House made that clear today by passing the Equality Act. Now it's time for the Senate to do the same."

02.24.2021 Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces US intends to seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, promising to pursue a policy to advance gender equality, uplift the rights of women, and end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

02.22.2021 Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as US Ambassador to the UN. Amb. Thomas-Greenfield's record includes advancing LGBTQ rights in 2012 as Ambassador to Monrovia, where she deployed "gumbo diplomacy," inviting the minister of information and local LGBTQ youth to dinner in effort to lower the risk of LGBTQ harassment. 

02.19.2021 Issues statement on introduction of The Equality Act in Congress and to urge its passage: "Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems - and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law."

02.11.2021 Department of Housing and Urban Development implements LGBTQ protections in housing, becoming first federal agency to implement Pres. Biden's executive order to interpret Supreme Court Bostock ruling and include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes under ban on sex discrimination.

02.10.2021 Appoints 12 professionals to the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, created to address Covid-19 inequities, according to “race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other factors.”

02.10.2021 Agrees to a temporary stay ordered in DC District Court, preventing last-minute Trump administration rollback of LGBTQ protections at agencies receiving HHS funding, including shelters, medical services and senior services. 

02.09.2021 Press Secretary Jen Psaki responds to a reporter's question about trans policy in the daily briefing, saying, "The president's belief is that trans rights are human rights."

02.05.2021 The CDC issues a report on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ Americans, including increased risk for severe symptoms and long-term complications. The report specifically points to the lack of LGBTQ inclusion in data collection and recommends that sexual orientation and gender identity be added to collection efforts.

02.04.2021 Issues executive memo on advancing LGBTQ human rights around the world. The memo directs all agencies "engaged abroad" to consider the implications of LGBTQ rights in funding and policy, increases protections for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, proposes combating criminalization of LGBTQ people in foreign nations, and directs agencies to file reports on LGBTQ human rights directives within 180 days.

02.03.2021 Issues proclamation for National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness and Prevention Month to address higher rates of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among young women, trans and gender nonconforming youth, saying dating violence “transcends gender...and sexual orientation.”

01.30.2021 Tweets: "Over the last 10 days, I’ve taken action on: - COVID-19 - The economy - Climate change - Racial equity - Immigration - Health care - LGBTQ+ rights. And I’m just getting started."

01.26.2021 Directs HUD to review and assess Trump-era regulatory changes, citing housing discrimination against LGBTQ, people of color, immigrants and people with disabilities. Directs HUD to assess Fair Housing Act practices.

01.25.2021 Revokes Trump’s 2018 ban on transgender military personnel and recruits. Tweets: Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride.

01.21.2021 Signs executive order to increase COVID-19 equitable data collection, pointing to lack of tracking data in underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted, specifically citing lack of data collection for LGBTQ pepole. Establishes COVID-19 Equity Task Force to assess whether resources have been allocated equitably, and strengthen anti-discrimination efforts.

01.20.2021 Unveils changes to White House website contact form to include the addition of pronoun fields, now with they/them nonbinary pronouns and new additions to prefix field (Mx. added).

01.20.2021 Signs executive order directing the federal government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all,” specifically citing LGBTQ people among the list of underserved communities. Directs the Domestic Policy Council to “coordinate efforts to embed equity principles, policies, and approaches across the Federal Government” in coordination with the NSC and the National Economic Council. Directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to assess equity and launch model and pilot programs as needed, and allocate budget resources. Directs all federal agencies to conduct 200-day assessments of systemic barriers to agency services for underserved populations and to engage with stakeholder and advocacy groups. Establishes Equitable Data Working Group.

01.20.2021 Signs executive order that directs all federal agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision and interpreting the federal ban on sex discrimination (via the Civil Rights Act 1964) to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. The order points to ending discrimination against transgender youth in school facilities including restrooms, locker rooms, and access to sports programs.

 

Key LGBTQ nominations, appointments and staff hires:

Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense: Brenda Sue Fulton

Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Readiness, Department of Defense: Shawn Skelly

Nominee for Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner: Chris Magnus

Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg

Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services: Dr. Rachel Levine

Secretary of State spokesperson: Ned Price

Deputy Press Secretary: Karine Jean-Pierre

Deputy White House Comms Director: Pili Tobar

White House Social Secretary: Carlos Elizondo

Director of Political Strategy and Outreach: Emmy Ruiz

Deputy Director, Office of Presidential Personnel: Gautam Raghavan