Biden has promised to reinstate Title IX protections to transgender students and enable them to use bathrooms as per their gender identities.
Editor's Note: This article was published just hours before Joe Biden's inauguration, so some of the information provided here may not be in sync with the latest developments.
President-elect Joe Biden's first order of business will be to re-instate rules and measures that were revoked by Donald Trump over the past four years and continue down the progressive path laid out by the Obama administration. Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday and will prioritize revoking a federal rule that was designed to protect transgender students. The Democratic nominee had promised to reinstate the protections in his campaign policy. "On his first day in office, Biden will reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance revoked by the Trump-Pence Administration, which will restore transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity," read Joe Biden's LGBTQ+ policy. The federal rule implemented during the Obama administration extended Title IX protections to transgender students, which enabled them to use bathrooms and locker rooms as per their gender identities and not just their biological sex.
The Trump administration had revoked the rule in 2017, with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions claiming the existing guidelines lacked a solid foundation in Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. It was one of the many conservative positions taken up by the Trump administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos agreed that the transgender students using restrooms as per the gender identities was "best solved at the state and local level,” reported The Hill. This left transgender students' plight at the mercy of government in conservative states. “Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students,” said DeVos. Nancy Pelosi hit out at the Trump administration over the decision. “No student should face discrimination at school because of who they are,” said then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. "Transgender students have the same right to a safe environment at school and in their community as everyone else.”
"Donald Trump and Mike Pence have given hate against LGBTQ+ individuals safe harbor and rolled back critical protections for the LGBTQ+ community. By blocking the ability of transgender individuals to openly serve their country, denying LGBTQ+ people access to critical health care, proposing policies allowing federally funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people and federally funded adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples, and failing to address the epidemic of violence against transgender people —particularly transgender women of color—the Trump-Pence Administration has led a systematic effort to undo the progress President Obama and Vice President Biden made," read a statement from Biden's website.
Biden said it's important to reinstate federal-level rules as more than half of LGBTQ+ Americans live in states without adequate civil rights protections. "They can get married on Sunday and the very next day get fired under state law because of who they are or who they love. LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, including employment, military service, starting a family, and obtaining a driver’s license with their accurate gender marker," said Biden. He has also promised to make the enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority. Biden has said he would protect LGBTQ+ individuals from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and call for more inclusion of transgender and non-binary people in the workforce.
Biden has already taken the first step by announcing Dr. Rachel Levine, a transwoman, as his assistant secretary of health. Levine will be the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, reported USA Today. “Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic – no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability – and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond," Biden said in a statement. "She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.” Levine's immediate task will be to help fight the pandemic that has already killed more than 400,000 people in America. Kamala Harris described Levine as "a remarkable public servant with the knowledge and experience to help us contain this pandemic, and protect and improve the health and well-being of the American people."