Biden Bits: Does Not Mean COVID is Over…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Thursday.

For Fun…

When Biden Bits was posted for Wednesday, President Biden had not tweeted. He added 14 tweets and 0 retweets.

The YouTube is 9 minutes and 23 seconds long. His full remarks can be found here.

President Biden: Because of the strategy we executed over the past year on vaccinations, testing, treatments, and more, we’re now in a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that COVID-19 is over; it means that COVID-19 no longer controls our lives.  That’s what it means. 

President Biden: Today, I’m announcing the launch of COVID.gov — COVID.gov — a one — (clears throat) — excuse me, a one-stop shop where anyone in America can find what they need to navigate the virus: free vaccines and boosters, free at-home tests, high-quality masks.  And for the latest information about the level of COVID-19 spread in your community, you can get that immediately.

The video is 12 seconds long.

President Biden: Today I announced a one stop shop to get any and everything you need to deal with COVID. Go to COVID.gov–COVID.gov. All the information is there.

President Biden: And let me remind you: When I took office about 14 months ago, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling, and the deficit was soaring.  Most schools were closed.  We didn’t have enough vaccines.  The unemployment claims were sky high. 

President Biden: And then we got to work, and we delivered: enough vaccines for every American months ahead of schedule, effective treatments, at-home tests that are free and accessible. Over 99 percent of our schools are open again.  Businesses are open again.  And because of how we responded, we created more jobs last year than ever before — 6.7 million jobs.

President Biden: But none of that happened by accident.  We were able to do it because we coordinated across the government, partnered with state and local leaders, governors on both sides of the aisle, and the private sector to leverage every resource we had to fight against this virus. We left no stone unturned.  And we were able to do it because Congress worked with us and provided us the necessary funding.

President Biden: But now, just as we’ve reached the critical turning point in this fight, Congress has to provide the funding America needs to continue to fight COVID-19. We’re alr- — we’re already seeing the consequences of congressional inaction. 

President Biden: The monoclonal antibod- — take monoclonal antibodies, for example.  They’ve helped save lives.  This isn’t partisan; it’s medicine. But Congress hasn’t provided enough money to keep purchasing these monoclonal bo- — antibodies.  We’ve had to cancel planned orders and cut the supply we’re sending to the states.  Without more funding, we’ll start to run out of them by the end of May — the end of May.

President Biden: We’ve also had to scale back our plan to purchase more preventive therapies for Americans who are immunocompromised — critical tools to protect the most vulnerable among us.  Without more funding, we risk running out of the supply by this fall.

President Biden: The same is true of testing.  It took months to ramp up our testing capacity.  The Omicron — we saw how vital — and with Omicron, we saw how vital it was and [that] we have enough tests on hand to weather the surge.  But without funding, we’re not going to be able to sustain the testing capacity beyond the month of June.  And if we fail to invest, we leave ourselves vulnerable if another wave of the virus hits.

President Biden: Look, on vaccines — a most important tool in this fight — we’re also running a risk.

President Biden: But if Congress fails to act, we won’t have the supply we need this fall to ensure that shots are available, free, easily accessible for all Americans. Even worse, if we need a different vaccine for the future to combat a new variant, we’re not going to have enough money to purchase it.  We cannot allow that to happen. Congress, we need to secure additional supply now.  Now.  We can’t wait until we find ourselves in the midst of another surge to act.  It’ll be too late.

President Biden: We’re summoning every ounce of American resilience; pulled every lever of our government; called upon the goodness, decency, and patriotism of the American people; and, together, we turned an unthinkable pain into an extraordinary progress and purpose.  Americans are back to living their lives again.  We can’t surrender that now. Congress, please act.  You have to act immediately.  The consequences of inaction are severe.  They’ll only grow with time, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

For Wednesday, March 31st, 2022, President Biden has received his daily brief. This afternoon President Biden will deliver remarks on his Administration’s action to reduce the impact of Putin’s price hike on energy prices and lower gas prices.

Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the admin was weighing a plan that would release roughly a million of barrels of oil a day from the U.S. reserves to combat rising fuel costs.

I was paywalled on the Bloomberg article; later on Wednesday, the New York Times reported; President Biden is considering a plan to release one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for as long as 180 days, a move that would add a large amount of oil to the global market, according to a person familiar with the White House deliberations on the issue.

Thursday the White House released the following fact-sheet; President Biden’s Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump

Americans face rising prices at the pump because of Putin’s Price Hike.  Since Putin accelerated his military build-up around Ukraine, gas prices have increased by nearly a dollar per gallon.  Because of Putin’s war of choice, less oil is getting to market, and the reduction in supply is raising prices at the pump for Americans.  President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to help American families who are paying more out of pocket as a result.  That is why today, President Biden will announce a two-part plan to ease the pain that families are feeling by increasing the supply of oil starting immediately and achieving lasting American energy independence that reduces demand for oil and bolsters our clean energy economy. 

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.

Immediately Increasing Supply

At the start of this year, gas was about $3.30 a gallon.  Today, it’s over $4.20, an increase of nearly $1.  And now, a significant amount of Russian oil is not making it to market.  The President banned the import of Russian oil – which Republicans and Democrats in Congress called for and supported.  It was the right thing to do.  But, as the President said, Russian oil coming off the global market would come with a cost, and Americans are seeing that at the pump.

The first part of the President’s plan is to immediately increase supply by doing everything we can to encourage domestic production now and through a historic release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to serve as a bridge to greater supply in the months ahead.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.

Increasing Domestic Production

The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production. The United States is already approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production. There are oil companies that are doing the right thing and committing to ramp up production now.  Right now, domestic production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and nearly 700,000 barrels per day next year.

Still, too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits and without making additional investment to help with supply.  One CEO even acknowledged that, even if the price goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up production. 

Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land with 9,000 unused but already-approved permits for production. Today, President Biden is calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing. Companies that are producing from their leased acres and existing wells will not face higher fees. But companies that continue to sit on non-producing acres will have to choose whether to start producing or pay a fee for each idled well and unused acre.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.

Historic Release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a Bridge Through the Crisis

After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months.  The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up. 

The Department of Energy will use the revenue from the release to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in future years. This will provide a signal of future demand and help encourage domestic production today, and will ensure the continued readiness of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to future emergencies.  

President Biden is coordinating this action with allies and partners around the world, and other countries are expected to join in this action, bringing the total release to well over an average 1 million barrels per day.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.

Achieving Real American Energy Independence

The United States is the largest oil producer in the world and is a net energy exporter.  Despite that, the actions of a dictator half a world away can still impact American families’ pocketbooks. The President will announce his commitment to achieving real energy independence – which centers on reducing our dependence on oil altogether.

The President will call on Congress to pass his plan to speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America.  His plan will help ensure that America creates millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, cutting-edge industries for generations to come. And it will save American families money in theimmediate future – including more than $950 a year in gas savings from taking advantage of electric vehicles, and an additional $500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.  

And, the President will issue a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future.  Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries–such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards. The sectors supported by these large capacity batteries—transportation and the power sector—account for more than half of our nation’s carbon emissions.  The President is also reviewing potential further uses of DPA – in addition to minerals and materials – to secure safer, cleaner, and more resilient energy for America.

This week alone, President Biden announced historic efforts to increase energy efficiency and lower costs for consumers.  The Department of Energy opened applications for more than $3 billion in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding—ten times the historical funding levels of the Weatherization Assistance Program—for energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in thousands of homes that will save families hundreds of dollars on utility bills.  The Administration also advanced smart standards that will lower consumer costs, including a roadmap of 100 actions this year that will save families $100 annually through more efficient home appliances and equipment, as well as new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to save drivers money at the pump.  And the Administration is seeking additional opportunities to ramp up the deployment of heat pumps to displace fuel burned in buildings, as well as programs to drive efficiency, electrification, and use of clean fuels in the industrial sector.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.

President Biden has tweeted 4 times so far for Thursday…

The Proclamation; on César Chávez Day, 2022

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of César Estrada Chávez, a champion for social justice and advocate for hardworking people who build and sustain our Nation.  Born into poverty and raised by migrant workers, Chávez courageously dedicated his life to improving conditions for workers across the country.  Chávez witnessed firsthand the inequities of an economy that only served those at the top and left millions of hardworking Americans behind.  Today, as we continue to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out and that rewards work and not just wealth, we stand on the shoulders of César Chávez and carry forward his fight to advance the rights and dignity of working people and fulfill the promise of America for all Americans.

When César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers of America alongside Dolores Huerta, he drew national attention to the many agricultural workers who experience inhumane working conditions and unlivable wages.  Through strikes, marches, and boycotts, he inspired millions of people across the country to fight for safe and healthy workplaces, better wages, improved workplace protections from sickness and disability, and other core rights and protections. 

In the process, Chávez inspired generations of people across all backgrounds, ages, and industries to organize, bargain, and expand opportunity for workers and their families.  His devotion to “La Causa” brought hope to workers and Latinos across the Nation — and his fight for justice, equality, and dignity gave workers and Latinos everywhere a voice.  Today, we must summon the same courage and moral clarity to carry his legacy forward so that everyone has a fair shot at the American dream.

That is why my Administration continues to urge the Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act — so farmworkers can bargain collectively, obtain legal status, and have better working conditions.  It is why I fought hard to pass the American Rescue Plan early in my Administration to ensure Latino workers, families, and small businesses had the protections and financial support they needed to pay rent and put food on their table.  It is why I appointed Marty Walsh, a former union leader, to lead the Department of Labor — because he understands how union workers hold this country together.  It is why my Administration created an historic Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment — because I believe in empowering workers to organize and providing those that put food on our table an earned pathway to citizenship.

As our Nation celebrates César Chávez’s 95th birthday, let us keep the lessons he taught in our minds and the values he lived by in our hearts:  the power of workers to bargain for a better deal, strength in the face of extraordinary adversity, and the conviction to fight for what we believe in.

When I became President, I proudly placed a bust of César Chávez in the Oval Office — a constant reminder of the enduring values he embodied, the vision of freedom he fought for, and his commitment to social justice and equal dignity that we must uphold each and every day. 

White House.gov. 03/30/2022.

The video is 1 minute and 43 seconds long.

President Biden: To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you. Jill, Kamala, Doug, our entire administration sees you for who you are, made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect and support. But we know it’s hard when there are those out there who don’t see you and don’t respect you.

President Biden con’t: For example, the onslaught of anti-transgender state laws attacking you and your families is simply wrong. This administration is standing up for you against all these hateful bills. And we’re committed to advancing transgender equality in the classroom, on the playing field, at work, in our military, in our housing and health care systems–everywhere. Simply everywhere.

President Biden con’t: Today, we’re announcing even more steps. But there’s always more work to do to the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color and girls of color. To ensure transgender seniors can age with dignity–dignity. And to finally pass a bipartisan Equality Act to help transgender persons around the world live free from discrimination and violence. Above all, to be there with you.

President Biden con’t: To parents of transgender children affirming your child’s identity is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep them safe and healthy. To any transgender American who’s struggling, please know that you’re not alone.

President Biden con’t: To parents and children alike, please ask for help. And know this: You’re so brave. You belong. And we have your back. God bless you all, be brave.

The White House posted the following fact-sheet; Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equality and Visibility for Transgender Americans

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration of the resilience, achievements, and joy of transgender people in the United States and around the world. Every American deserves the freedom to be themselves. But far too many transgender Americans still face systemic barriers, discrimination, and acts of violence. Today, the Administration once again condemns the proliferation of dangerous anti-transgender legislative attacks that have been introduced and passed in state legislatures around the country. The evidence is clear that these types of bills stigmatize and worsen the well-being and mental health of transgender kids, and they put loving and supportive families across the country at risk of discrimination and harassment. As the President has said, these bills are government overreach at its worst, they are un-American, and they must stop.

Transgender people are some of the bravest people in our nation. But nobody should have to be brave just to be themselves. Today, the Biden Administration announced new actions to support the mental health of transgender children, remove barriers that transgender people face accessing critical government services, and improve the visibility of transgender people in our nation’s data.

Advancing dignity, respect, and self-determination for transgender people by improving the traveler experience. For far too long, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Americans have faced significant barriers to travelling safely and many have not had their gender identity respected as they travel within the United States and around the world. To create a safer and more dignified travel experience, the Biden Administration is announcing the following changes.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.
  • The Department of State is announcing that beginning on April 11, 2022, all U.S. citizens will be able select an “X” as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application. This is a major step in delivering on the President’s commitment to expand access to accurate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans. Information on how to apply will be available at travel.state.gov/gender.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is announcing several important reforms to improve the traveler experience for all Americans, particularly for transgender Americans:
    • Implementing enhanced screening technology. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon begin updating its Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners with new technology that will increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates and pat-downs for the traveling public. By replacing the current, gender-based system with this more accurate technology, TSA will improve the customer experience of transgender travelers who have previously been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas.  This new technology will help to improve the experience of travelers, particularly those who are transgender and non-binary travelers. TSA will begin deploying this new technology in airports throughout the country later this year.
    • Expanding airline partnerships to enhance the overall travel experience.  TSA is working closely with air carriers across the nation to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker to ensure more efficient and accurate passenger processing. As of March 31st, two major domestic air carriers already offer a third gender marker option in their travel-reservation systems, with a third air carrier planning to offer this option in the Fall of 2022.
    • Streamlining identity validation. TSA has updated its Standard Operating Procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. This ensures that TSOs can accurately and efficiently validate each traveler’s identity while avoiding unnecessary delays.
    • Updating TSA PreCheck and CBP Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment to include “X” gender markers. The Department of Homeland Security is beginning the process of adding “X” gender markers options in Trusted Traveler programs and the TSA PreCheck program to enhance access for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers to these programs.

Providing resources for transgender kids and their families. Transgender children are put at higher risk of attempted suicide or mental health challenges when they face bullying, rejection, or denial of health care. The Biden Administration is releasing several new resources to help transgender children and their parents thrive:

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.
  • Providing mental health resources for transgender youth. In recent months, multiple states have removed critical information about mental health resources for LGBTQI+ youth from official state websites. Transgender youth often face significant barriers in accessing supportive resources, and are at greater risk of attempted suicide. In response, the Department of Health and Human Services released a new website that offers resources for transgender and LGBTQI+ youth, their parents, and providers. These resources include best practices for affirming an LGBTQI+ child, and information about suicide prevention services.
  • Expanding trainings to support transgender and nonbinary students in schools. The Office of Safe and Supportive Schools in the Department of Education will offer new training for schools with experts and school leaders who will discuss the challenges faced by many transgender and nonbinary students and strategies and actions for providing support.
  • Confirming the positive impact of gender affirming care on youth mental health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has posted LGBTQI+ Youth – Like All Americans, They Deserve Evidence-Based Care, in which Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA, shares how to engage LGBTQI+ youth, the evidence behind the positive effects of gender affirming care, and available resources for LGBTQI+ youth, their families, providers, community organizations, and government agencies.
  • Confirming that gender-affirming care is trauma-informed care. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is releasing new information for providers confirming that providing gender-affirming care is neither child maltreatment nor malpractice.
  • Providing resources on the importance of gender affirming care for children and adolescents. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health has developed a resource to inform parents and guardians, educators, and other persons supporting children and adolescents with information on what is gender-affirming care and why it is important to transgender, nonbinary, and other gender expansive young people’s well-being.

Improving access to federal services and benefits for transgender Americans. With support and coordination from the U.S. Digital Service, federal agencies are removing barriers to access government services by improving the customer experience of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Americans:

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.
  • Accessing retirement savings. The Social Security Administration is announcing that it is removing the requirement that transgender people show proof of identity such as doctor’s notes in order to update their gender information in their social security record by the fall of 2022. This will significantly improve transgender individuals’ experience in accessing their retirement benefits, obtaining health care, and applying for jobs.
  • Filing an employment discrimination complaint. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is announcing that it will promote greater equity and inclusion for members of the transgender community by giving individuals the option to select an “X” gender marker during the voluntary self-identification questions that are part of the intake process for filing a charge of discrimination.
  • Applying for federal student aid. The Department of Education plans to propose next month that the 2023-24 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will include an opportunity for applicants to indicate their gender identity as well as their race/ethnicity when applying for federal financial aid. The questions, which will be posted for public comment, will be in a survey that accompanies the application. This privacy-protected information would help to inform the Department about possible barriers students, including transgender and nonbinary students, face in the financial aid process.
  • Visiting the White House. The White House Office of Management and Administration is announcing that it is beginning the process of implementing updates that will improve the White House campus entry process for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary visitors by adding an “X” gender marker option to the White House Worker and Visitor Entry System (WAVES) system. This change will ensure that transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people can visit the People’s House in a manner that respects and affirms their gender identity.

Advancing inclusion and visibility in federal data. In too many critical federal surveys and data systems, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people are not fully reflected. To improve visibility for transgender Americans, agencies are announcing new actions to expand the collection and use of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.
  • The White House announced that the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 23 budget includes $10 million in funding for additional critical research on how to best add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, one of our nation’s largest and most important surveys of American households. This data collection will help the federal government better serve the LGBTQI+ community by providing valuable information on their jobs, educational attainment, home ownership, and more.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has released the findings of the federal government’s first-ever user research testing conducted with transgender Americans on how they want to see themselves reflected on Federal IDs. This groundbreaking user research by the Collaborating Center for Question Design and Evaluation Research (CCQDER) at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) directly informed the State Department’s adopted definition of the “X” gender marker.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has released a comprehensive new consensus study on Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation. This work, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and carried out by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, will inform additional data collections and future research in how to best serve LGBTQI+ Americans.

These announcements build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic work to advance equality for transgender Americans since taking office, including:

Combatting legislative attacks on transgender kids at the state level.

White House.gov. 03/31/2022.
  • Condemning anti-transgender bills. The President has consistently made clear that legislative attacks against transgender youth are un-American, and are bullying disguised as legislation. In his March, 2022 State of the Union Address, the President said, “The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong. As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.” The White House has also hosted listening sessions with transgender youth and advocates in states across the country that are impacted by anti-transgender legislative attacks.
  • Reaffirming that transgender children have the right to access gender-affirming health care. In March, following state actions that aim to target parents and doctors who provide gender-affirming care to transgender children with child abuse investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services took multiple actions to support transgender children in receiving the care they need and promised to use every tool available to protect LGTBQI+ children and support their families.
  • Department of Justice statements of interest and amicus briefs. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has filed Statements of Interest and amicus briefs in several matters to protect the constitutional rights of transgender individuals, including in Brandt v. Rutledge, a lawsuit challenging legislation restricting access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth; B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, a lawsuit challenging legislation restricting participation of transgender students in school sports; Corbitt v. Taylor, a lawsuit challenging legislation restricting the ability to change gender markers on state driver’s licenses; and Adams v. School Board of St. John’s County, which involves the right of a transgender boy to use the boys’ restroom at his school.

Advancing civil rights protections for transgender Americans

  • Fighting for passage of the Equality Act. President Biden continues to call on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, legislation which will provide long overdue federal civil rights protections to transgender and LGBTQI+ Americans and their families. As the White House has said, passing the Equality Act is key to addressing the epidemic levels of violence and discrimination that transgender people face. The Administration’s first Statement of Administration Policy was in support of the Equality Act, and the White House has convened national leaders to discuss the importance of the legislation.
  • Signing one of the most comprehensive Executive Orders on LGBTQI+ rights in history. Within hours of taking office, President Biden signed an Executive Order which established that it is the official policy of the Biden-Harris Administration to prevent and combat discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals, and to fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. This Executive Order is one of the most consequential policies for LGBTQI+ Americans ever signed by a U.S. President. As a result of that Order, the Departments of Health and Human ServicesHousing and Urban DevelopmentEducationConsumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Justice have announced that they are expanding non-discrimination protections for transgender people in health care, housing, education, credit and lending services, and community safety programs.

Supporting transgender service members and veterans

  • Reversing the discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers. In his first week in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order reversing the ban on openly transgender servicemembers serving in the Armed Forces, enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform. President Biden believes that an inclusive military strengthens our national security As a result of his Executive Order, the Department of Defense issued new policies which prohibit discrimination against transgender servicemembers, provide a path for transgender servicemembers to access gender-affirming medical care, and require that all transgender servicemembers are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Supporting transgender veterans. To ensure that transgender veterans are treated with dignity and respect, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched an agency-wide review of its policies and practices to ensure that transgender veterans and employees do not face discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. In June, VA also announced that it is beginning the regulatory process to remove restrictions that prevent transgender veterans from accessing the gender-affirming care they need and deserve.

Responding to the crisis of anti-transgender violence and advancing safety

  • Establishing a White House-led interagency working group on anti-transgender violence. To address the crisis of anti-transgender stigma and violence, during Pride Month in 2021 the White House established the first Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals. The Working Group is co-led by the White House Domestic Policy Council and Gender Policy Council. To inform the priorities of the Working Group, throughout the fall of 2021 the White House convened 15 historic listening sessions with transgender and gender diverse people, advocates, and civil rights leaders from across the country and around the world, including a White House roundtable with transgender women of color.
  • Releasing a White House report uplifting the voices of transgender people on gender-based violence and discrimination. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the White House released a report sharing the perspectives from White House listening sessions, uplifting the voices and advocacy of transgender people throughout the country, and highlighting over 45 key, early actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to address the root causes of anti-transgender violence, discrimination, and denial of economic opportunity.
  • Department of Justice civil rights enforcement actions. On September 14, 2021, the Department of Justice announced that it was launching a statewide civil investigation into Georgia’s prisons, which includes a focus on sexual abuse of transgender prisoners by other prisoners and staff. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico also obtained a federal indictment charging three men with hate crimes for assaulting a transgender woman because of her gender identity.
  • Ensuring non-discrimination protections in community safety programs. The Department of Justice issued a Memorandum from the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights regarding the application of Bostock v. Clayton County to the nondiscrimination provisions of the Safe Streets Act, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the Victims of Crime Act, and the Violence Against Women Act to strengthen non-discrimination protections for transgender and LGBTQI+ individuals in key community safety programs.
  • Strengthening protections for transgender individuals who are incarcerated. In January 2022 the Bureau of Prisons revised its manual on serving transgender offenders, improving access to gender-affirming care and access to facility placements that align with an inmate’s gender identity.
  • Honoring those lost to violence. The White House and the Second Gentleman of the United States hosted a first of its kind vigil in the Diplomatic Room of the White House to honor the lives of transgender and gender diverse people killed in 2021, and the countless transgender and gender diverse people who face brutal violence, harassment, and discrimination in the United States and around the world. The President also released a statement honoring the transgender people who lost their lives to violence.
  • Advancing safety and justice for transgender and Two-Spirit Indigenous people. LGBTQI+ Native Americans and people who identify as transgender or “Two-Spirit” are often the targets of violent crimes. On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People. The Executive Order directs federal agencies to work hand in hand with Tribal Nations and Tribal partners to build safe and healthy Tribal communities to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, including LGBTQI+ and “Two-Spirit” Native Americans.

Advancing health equity and expanding access to gender-affirming health care to support transgender patients

  • Protecting transgender patients from health care discrimination. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would interpret and enforce section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex in certain health programs to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Advancing gender-affirming care as an essential health benefit. In 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the first ever application from a state to add additional gender-affirming care benefits to a state’s essential health benefit benchmark plan.
  • Advancing health equity research on gender-affirming care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will increase funding for research on gender-affirming procedures to further develop the evidence base for improved standards of care. Research priorities include a more thorough investigation and characterization of the short- and long-term outcomes on physical and mental health associated with gender-affirming care.
  • Ending the HIV crisis among transgender and gender diverse communities. In December, 2021, in recognition of World AIDS Day, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy released a revised National HIV/AIDS Strategy which now identifies transgender and gender diverse communities as a priority population in the federal government’s strategy to end the HIV epidemic.
  • Advancing access to gender-affirming care through Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The Health Resources and Services Administration announced that it has released a letter encouraging Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program service providers to provide access to gender affirming care and treatment services to transgender and gender diverse individuals with HIV. The letter reaffirms the importance of providing culturally-affirming health care and social services as a key component to improving the lives of transgender people with HIV.
  • Ensuring transgender patients can access birth control. In 2021 HHS issued a final rule to strengthen the Title X family planning program, fulfilling the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to restore access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality family planning services. The rule requires family planning projects to provide inclusive care to LGBTQI+ persons. Additionally, the rule prohibits discrimination against any client based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics, or marital status.

Supporting transgender students and their families

  • Ensuring educational environments are free from sex discrimination and protecting LGBTQI+ students from sexual harassment. President Biden signed an Executive Order recommitting the Federal Government to guarantee educational environments free from sex discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Executive Order charged the Department of Education with reviewing the significant rates at which students who identify as LGBTQ+ are subject to sexual harassment, including sexual violence. The Department of Education has announced that it intends to propose amendments to its Title IX regulations this year.
  • Protecting the rights of transgender and gender diverse students. The Department of Education has affirmed that federal civil rights laws protect all students, including transgender and other LGBTQI+ students, from discrimination. The Department published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it interprets Title IX’s statutory prohibition on sex discrimination as encompassing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Department of Justice memorandum on Title IX. The Department of Justice issued a memorandum regarding the application of Bostock to Title IX.
  • Speaking directly to transgender students. The Department of Justice, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint back to school message for transgender youth.
  • Outreach and education to transgender and gender diverse students and their families. The Department of Education has published fact sheets and other resources showing the federal government’s support for transgender students, highlighting the ways schools can support students, reminding schools of their duty to investigate and address harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and informing students how they can assert their rights and file complaints.
  • Advancing research to address the harms of so-called conversion therapy. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that it will update its 2015 publication Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth to reflect the latest research and state of the field. 

Promoting fair housing and ending homelessness for transgender Americans

  • Advancing fair housing protections on the basis of gender identity. In February 2021 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Ensuring safety and access to services for transgender people experiencing homelessness. In April, HUD withdrew the previous administration’s proposed “Shelter Rule,” which would have allowed for federally funded discrimination against transgender people who seek shelter housing. By withdrawing the previous administration’s proposed rule, the agency has restored protections for transgender people to access shelter in line with their gender identity. HUD has also released new tools for recipients to ensure compliance with these requirements in shelters and other facility settings.

Advancing economic opportunity and protections for transgender workers

  • Ensuring nondiscrimination protections for transgender and gender diverse workers. In November 2021, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs proposed to rescind the agency’s 2020 rule “Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption,” an important step toward protecting workers from discrimination while safeguarding principles of religious freedom.
  • Ensuring equal access to the workforce development system. The Department of Labor is enforcing discrimination prohibitions in workforce development programs funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, protecting workers from discrimination based on their gender identity or transgender status.

Advancing gender equity and transgender equality at home and around the world

  • Advancing transgender equality in U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance. In line with the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World, the United States is making significant investments to uphold dignity, equality and respect for transgender persons globally.  For example, USAID supports the Global Barometer for Transgender Rights and the LGBT Global Acceptance Index which track progress and setbacks to protecting transgender lives around the world.  The Department of Health and Human Services through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief supports inclusive health care services for transgender individuals, enabling health clinics to provide care to the transgender community. And through the Department of State’s Global Equality Fund, local transgender rights organizations receive support to document human rights violations and provide critical legal assistance to community members.  
  • Establishing the White House Gender Policy Council to Advance Gender Equity and Equality. President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Gender Policy Council to advance gender equity and equality across the whole of the government, including by addressing barriers faced by LGBTQ+ people, in particular transgender women and girls, across our country.  

Supporting transgender leaders and public servants

  • Making the Federal government a model employer for transgender public servants. President Biden signed an Executive Order which takes historic new steps to ensure the Federal government is a model employer for all employees – including transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary employees. The Executive Order charges agencies with building inclusive cultures for transgender employees by: expanding the availability of gender-neutral facilities in Federal buildings; ensuring that employee services support transgender employees who wish to legally, medically or socially transition; advancing the use of non-binary gender markers and pronouns in Federal employment processes; and expanding access to gender-affirming care and inclusive health benefits.
  • Appointing historic transgender leaders. The Biden-Harris Administration includes barrier-breaking LGBTQI+ leaders, including Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who is the first openly transgender person ever confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In October, she was also named a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, becoming the first openly transgender person to hold that rank in any of the country’s uniformed services. Over 14 percent of Biden-Harris Administration appointees identify as LGBTQI+.

Advancing visibility for transgender Americans

  • Issuing the First White House Proclamation for Transgender Day of Visibility. On March 31, 2021 President Biden became the first U.S. President to issue a proclamation commemorating Transgender Day of Visibility.
     
  • Hosting a White House Virtual Convening on Transgender Equality. In June, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hosted a first-of-its-kind national conversation on equality for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary Americans.
  • Releasing a toolkit on equality and inclusion for transgender Americans. The White House released a new toolkit with best practices for advancing inclusion, opportunity, and safety for transgender Americans.
  • Establishing a National Pulse Memorial. On June 25, 2021, President Biden signed H.R. 49 into law to designate the National Pulse Memorial. As the President acknowledged in his statement on the fifth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, we must acknowledge gun violence’s particular impact on LGBTQ+ communities across our nation, and we must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color. As the President has said, Pulse Nightclub is hallowed ground.

On Wednesday the White House posted the following Proclamation: on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2022

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you.  The First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Gentleman, and my entire Administration see you for who you are — made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect, and support.  On this day and every day, we recognize the resilience, strength, and joy of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.  We celebrate the activism and determination that have fueled the fight for transgender equality.  We acknowledge the adversity and discrimination that the transgender community continues to face across our Nation and around the world.

Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving.  Like never before, they are sharing their stories in books and magazines; breaking glass ceilings of representation on television and movie screens; enlisting — once again — to serve proudly and openly in our military; getting elected and making policy at every level of government; and running businesses, curing diseases, and serving our communities in countless other ways.

Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity.  Transgender women and girls — especially transgender women and girls of color — continue to face epidemic levels of violence, and 2021 marked the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans.  Each of these lives lost was precious.  Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy.  We must honor their lives with action by advancing equity and civil rights for all transgender people.

In the past year, hundreds of anti-transgender bills in States were proposed across America, most of them targeting transgender kids.  The onslaught has continued this year.  These bills are wrong.  Efforts to criminalize supportive medical care for transgender kids, to ban transgender children from playing sports, and to outlaw discussing LGBTQI+ people in schools undermine their humanity and corrode our Nation’s values.  Studies have shown that these political attacks are damaging to the mental health and well-being of transgender youth, putting children and their families at greater risk of bullying and discrimination.

My entire Administration is committed to ensuring that transgender people enjoy the freedom and equality that are promised to everyone in America.  That is why I signed an Executive Order Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.  We are expanding Federal non-discrimination protections; promoting strategies to address violence against the transgender community and advance gender equity and equality; and disseminating new resources to enhance inclusion, opportunity, and safety for transgender people.  Additionally, Americans will soon be able to select more inclusive gender markers on their passports.  I continue to call on the Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan Equality Act, which will ensure that LGBTQI+ individuals and families cannot be denied housing, employment, education, credit, and more because of who they are or who they love.  We will continue to work to help transgender people around the world live free from discrimination and violence.

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor transgender people who are fighting for freedom, equality, dignity, and respect.  We also celebrate the parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, and other allies who affirm the identities of their transgender children and help these young people reach their potential.  Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our Nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them.  To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave.  You belong.  I have your back.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2022, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people — and all people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

White House.gov. 03/30/2022.

President Biden remarks are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. D.C., time.

The daily press briefing is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. D.C., time.

This is an Open Thread.

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About Tiff 2011 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.