Biden targets conversion therapy in Pride Month order
Washington, Jun 16: US President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday at a White House LGBTQ pride reception and signed an executive order aimed at curbing discrimination against transgender youth.
The executive order also targets the controversial practice of "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ people. The order taps into money already allocated to federal agencies rather than requiring new funding.
"My message to all the young people: Just be you, you are loved," Biden said. "I want you to know that as your president, all of us on this stage have your back. We have your back."
'Pride is back at the White House'
Biden spoke at a signing ceremony, saying that "pride is back at the White House."
The executive order seeks to discourage "conversion therapy," a practice that aims to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The order asks federal agencies to ensure federally-funded programs do not offer conversion therapy.
The order also promotes gender-affirming surgery for transgender people and expands foster care protections for LGBTQ parents and children.
Actions listed within the order attempt to bolster programs addressing the issue of suicide among LGBTQ minors and seek to make adoptions easier for parents and children. The order also creates a federal working group to help combat LGBTQ homelessness and a group promoting educational policies that encourage inclusive learning environments.
Attacks on 'real families'
Biden said that the order is meant to counter over 300 "anti-LGBTQI+" laws introduced in state legislatures over the past year. Laws passed by conservative lawmakers have banned gender-affirming surgery for youth in a number of states.
Among state laws the White House has opposed is a measure in Florida, signed in March by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, that bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity up to third grade.
Last year, Texas banned transgender girls from participating in female sports in schools.
"All of you in this room know better than anyone that these attacks are real and consequential for real families," Biden said, after the arrest last weekend of 31 members of the far-right Patriot Front group near an Idaho pride event.