New Openings in the Transgender Community

By: Jack Sendek

Throughout his campaign, now-President Joe Biden promised to undo many of the actions taken by the Trump administration. Within his first 100 days, Biden has made several steps towards following through on the goal of equality for all Americans, especially for the transgender community.  During the Trump presidency, former Attorney General William Barr signed a statement of interest into a Connecticut lawsuit against two transgender girl athletes for infringing on cisgender females’ Title IX right to equal opportunity in sports. The Trump administration’s involvement in the case led to seventeen states considering legislation that would set boundaries on transgender athlete participation in sports. Idaho and Mississippi state legislatures even passed such laws, citing that transgender girls had an unfair biological advantage over cisgender girls. President Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in school sports and other environments within the school setting. As a result, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights withdrew Barr’s statement and support for the prosecution of the Connecticut case.

In addition to promoting equality for transgender athletes, President Biden has lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the military. In a policy aimed at limiting transgender participation in the military, the Trump administration rolled back on progress made by President Obama. The Obama administration allowed transgender individuals to serve openly and have access to necessary care, but the Trump Administration squandered this  “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that often led to involuntary discharges. In a reversal back to Obama-era policies, President Biden’s recent lifting of the transgender military ban will grant transgender Americans the opportunity to serve their country. Similar to his stance on the transgender athlete issue, President Trump believed that his policies would protect the transgender community because they were designed to protect everyone. This didn’t sit well with the transgender community and many other Americans nationwide. As such, President Biden’s executive order removing the transgender military ban as well as his withdrawal of government support in the Connecticut case are important and long-awaited steps toward liberty and justice for all. 

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