President Joe Biden has long been a champion of the LGBTQ community, and during the 2020 campaign season, he promised to reverse several of the Trump Administration’s discriminatory practices, particularly against transgender people. A newly elected President Biden first delivered on that promise when he repealed Trump’s transgender military ban three months ago, and he followed that up by nominating the first transgender official to the position of Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Now President Biden is reversing a policy introduced under Trump that limited protections for transgender people from both working in the health care field and receiving healthcare. The new changes will bar health care providers and other health-related organizations that receive federal funding from discriminating based on someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this news is for all LGBTQ people and trans people specifically. President Biden said he’d have our backs, and he keeps delivering for trans people. Elections matter.https://t.co/pCaynIaKNM
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 10, 2021
In June 2020, the Trump administration had rolled back protections against gender identity discrimination in health care regulated by Obamacare. HHS announced that it would recognize “sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.” Days later, the Supreme Court ruled that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. A day before the Trump policy was set to take effect in August 2020, however, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing the regulation.
HHS said Monday that 25 percent of LGBTQ people who have faced discrimination postponed or avoided receiving necessary medical care because they feared further discrimination. “No one should be discriminated against when seeking medical services because of who they are,” said Dr. Levine.