Biden calls out anti-LGBTQ bills 'unconscionable,' calls for action

Biden calls out anti-LGBTQ bills 'unconscionable,' calls for action

President Joe Biden declared June LGBTQ Pride Month, while calling attention to unconscionable attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community.

Biden wrote in a presidential proclamation released Tuesday, on the eve of Pride Month, that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. This month, we celebrate generations of LGBTQI people who have fought to make the possibilities of our nation real for every American. Biden said that his administration sees LGBTQ people for who they are — deserving dignity, respect, and support. He criticized the slew of bills that target LGBTQ people's rights, which were considered by state legislatures nationwide. In the last few years, the annual number has gone up. In the first three months of this year, 41 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in state legislatures, compared to 238 in the first three months of this year, according to an analysis conducted by NBC News in March. More than 320 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in May, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Most of the bills target transgender youth by restricting participation in school sports or restricting access to certain gender-affirming medical care. Three states have enacted measures that restrict access to transition-related care, and 17 states have banned transgender students from participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identities.

Some of the other legislation in Florida limits classroom discussion of LGBTQ topics, leading critics to call Florida's measure the Don't Say Gay or Trans bill.

Biden called the bills unconscionable and have left LGBTQI families in fear and pain. The research conducted by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, found that the problem has been particularly difficult for LGBTQI youth, 45 percent of whom considered attempting suicide in the last year.

He spoke directly to trans youth, as he has done in his past two State of the Union addresses: I will always have your back as President so that you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential. Biden noted that his administration has taken a number of actions to advance LGBTQ equality including an executive order he issued on the first day of his presidency to expand nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people under federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act. He also issued an executive order reversing the ban on transgender people enlisting and openly serving in the military.

In April, the administration added a gender-neutral option for the gender marker on U.S. passport books, and it's in the midst of changing airport security processes to make them safer for trans travelers.

Biden said Tuesday that there is more work to be done. He called for Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would create the first federal protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, jury duty, and more.

He said this month, we honor the resilience of LGBTQI people who are fighting to live authentically and freely. We are committed to delivering protections, safety, and equality to LGBTQI families so that everyone can realize the full promise of America.