The president released a statement of affirmation, plus a new report on mental health and a call for support across the federal government.
President Joe Biden and his administration are observing Transgender Day of Visibility today by issuing a report on ways to support LGBTQ+ and intersex youth, especially trans youth, and guidance on gender identity inclusion for federal government employees.
Biden also released a statement on TDOV, saying in part, “On Transgender Day of Visibility, we celebrate the strength, joy, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know. Transgender Americans deserve to be safe and supported in every community — but today, across our country, MAGA extremists are advancing hundreds of hateful and extreme state laws that target transgender kids and their families. No one should have to be brave just to be themselves. Let me be clear: These attacks are un-American and must end.”
The report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, provides “the latest scientific research on supporting the mental health of LGBTQI+ youth,” according to a White House fact sheet.
“There is conclusive scientific evidence that affirming a transgender or LGBTQI+ child’s identity is vital to protecting their mental health,” the fact sheet notes. “When transgender children have access to affirming environments, at home and at school, that are free from discrimination, rejection, and bullying, they are resilient and can thrive. When transgender children can access gender-affirming care — which includes counseling and mental health supports — their wellbeing improves.”
Despite the scientific evidence, LGBTQI+ youth and especially trans youth are in a mental health crisis because of discrimination, harassment, and bullying, the White House points out. Rejection and trauma increase the risk of suicide for these young people. So do anti-trans state laws and policies, such as bans on gender-affirming health care or the use of inclusive lessons, the fact sheet says. It also calls out the harm done by so-called conversion therapy, designed to turn LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender.
In addition to the SAMHSA report, the administration, through the Office of Personnel Management, released the update to guidance on inclusion in the federal workplace. It is designed “to help ensure agencies fully follow existing federal policies and antidiscrimination laws, and to help agencies adopt inclusive practices to foster a welcoming and supportive workplace for applicants and employees of all gender identities,” the fact sheet says.
The fact sheet further notes several steps the administration has taken to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ and intersex Americans, and especially trans Americans. This includes speaking out against harmful legislation at the state level, an executive order from President Biden that requires agencies across the federal government to foster equality, support of legal challenges to discriminatory laws and policies, expanding mental health resources, supporting civil rights protections in schools, reversing the trans military ban, offering passports with a gender-neutral marker, and many more actions. The administration continues to fight for the Equality Act, a comprehensive bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the White House adds.
“I want every member of the trans community to know that we see you,” Biden’s TDOV statement concludes. “You’re each made in the image of God, and deserve love, dignity, and respect. You make America stronger, and we’re with you.”
by Trudy Ring
Source – The Advocate