President Joe Biden released a statement recognizing National Coming Out Day on Monday, criticizing states that have attempted to pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Biden stated that his administration is dedicated to protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, whether they are out or not.
“My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation,” he said.
Biden warned, however, that state legislatures continue to target LGBTQ+ people. “Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures,” he said.
He continued: “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character.”
This year alone nearly 20 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law in conservative states, the most in a single year. Many of them directly target transgender youth, barring them from playing on the school sports teams comporting with their gender identity — seven states have adopted such laws this year, and more, including Texas, are considering them — and one, in Arkansas, denies gender-affirming health care to trans minors. The Arkansas law is being challenged in court.
In the statement, Biden also repeated his support for LGBTQ+ rights, both domestically and internationally.
“From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans — to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.
The president also referenced the out LGBTQ+ officials in his administration who are serving the U.S. openly — those officials include Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, among others.
“From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act,” Biden said, “we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.”
Since taking office, Biden has recognized other LGBTQ-related commemorative days such as Transgender Day of Visibility as well as Pride Month. A significant change from the former administration of President Donald Trump.
“To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you,” Biden said. “My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.”