Biden Signs Executive Orders Banning LGBTQ Discrimination

Since FDR’s work to end the Great Depression in 1933, American presidents have been measured by their productivity within the first 100 days of their presidential term. Joe Biden came out swinging.


In the first 10 days of his presidential term, Biden signed a number of executive orders. These orders included extending the pause on student loan payments, halting the construction of Trump’s infamous wall, revoking the permits for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, working to improve the federal government’s COVID-19 response, and more.


With his initial executive actions, Biden works toward ushering in an American government that doesn’t discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ population. On January 20, Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against federal employees based on their gender or sexual orientation, stating, “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” The order requires that by April 30, the head of every federal agency must review policies and develop plans to enforce workplace inclusion (April 30, 2021 also happens to be the 100-day mark for Biden’s administration).


On January 25, Biden continued his work against LGBTQ+ discrimination within the federal government by signing an executive order lifting a ban placed in April 2019 on transgender individuals enlisting and openly serving in the armes forces of the United States. According to NBC News, Trump’s policy allowed transgender personnel that “already received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria [to] continue to serve in their preferred gender, receive hormone treatments and undergo gender-affirming surgery. But … anyone with gender dysphoria who [was] taking hormones or [had] already undergone a gender transition [would] not be allowed to enlist [once the policy was enacted]. Further, any currently serving troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria after [the policy was enacted would] have to serve in their sex as assigned at birth and … be barred from taking hormones or getting gender-affirming surgery.” Trump stated at the time that transgender individuals’ service was a “confusing issue for the military.”


In his executive order, Biden states, “there is substantial evidence that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces.” He explains that, “a meticulous, comprehensive study requested by the Department of Defense” found that including transgender individuals in the military has a minimal impact on health care costs and military readiness and “no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion.” Following this study’s findings, “the Secretary of Defense concluded … that permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military was consistent with military readiness and with strength through diversity … [and] that it was appropriate to create a process that would enable service members to take steps to transition gender while serving.”


Biden condemns Trump’s ban in his order by stating, “Rather than relying on the comprehensive study by a nonpartisan federally funded research center, the previous administration relied on a review that resulted in a policy that set unnecessary barriers to military service.”


While there’s much work to be done, this piece of legislation is a step toward equality within one of the country’s most traditionally heteronormative spaces. Biden’s administration has promised to continue working toward equality throughout his presidential term.