President Joe Biden signed an executive order Thursday to continue the advancement of racial equity and uplift underserved communities.
Chiraag Bains, the president's deputy assistant for racial justice and equity, said the order demonstrates that Biden is keeping a promise on his first day in office to focus national attention on equity and inclusion. He spoke to reporters on Thursday morning to discuss Biden's new order.
On January 20, 2021, Biden signed the Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which directed the federal government to pursue equity across the board to include Black and brown, LGBTQ+, and particularly transgender Americans.
Bains explained that Thursday's executive order is essential and timely when Republican politicians block equity in education, reproductive health, and gender-affirming care while simultaneously fueling hate-inspired violence.
"[This executive order] makes clear that the agencies' work to ensure equity for LGBTQI+ Americans is part of our broader mandate. This is about racial equity, but it is about equity more broadly as well, and that includes for LGBTQI+ Americans as well," Bains said.
Combatting attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and transgender Americans are areas of high priority and a significant focus for the administration, Bains said.
"President Biden is the most pro-LGBTQI+ president in history," he said. "He has spoken directly to the trans kids across this country and their families who are being targeted by Republican lawmakers and legislatures in states across the country, including in the State of the Union address this month."
During his State of the Union earlier this month, Biden called for the passage of the Equality Act as a way to protect LGBTQ+ rights.
"Let's also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity," Biden said.
Bains addressed the rise in hate-fueled violence toward the community as well.
"There is no place for violence, hatred, or bigotry ... in America," he said. "Tragically, we're seeing it all too often across the country, and this isn't just a matter of banning books and limiting curricula. Those are deeply troubling, but it's also a matter of life and death."
Baines also called out the November shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs when a 22-year-old gunman entered the LGBTQ+ safe space, killed five people, and grievously wounded 19 others.
"LGBTQI+ people across the country fear for their safety, and it's critical that this administration convey that we have their backs and that we're looking out for their wellbeing."
During Pride last June, Biden signed a historic executive order which tasked agencies to act against so-called conversion therapy.
Moreover, the new order reaffirms Biden's pledge that government should be open and accessible to all, as well as the fact that "our work is far from done when it comes to achieving equity and as the president has said, equity is not a one or two year project, it's a generational commitment," Bains said.
Today's measure also formalizes Biden's goal to increase federal procurement dollars going to small and disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2025. The order requires agencies to assess new civil rights threats, including automated technology discrimination and accessibility issues for people with disabilities and non-English speakers. Improvements to ensure equity in data collection, transparency, and analysis will also now be implemented.
Republican lawmakers accross the country have sought to limit the rights of transgender Americans by advancing legislation to eliminate access to gender-affirming care in some states and restrict trans kids' ability to participate in sports in others. Although GOP-inspired culture wars did not benefit Republicans during the midterm election last fall, politicians continue to try to use sexual orientation and gender identity as wedge issues.