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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Gloria Oladipo

Biden outlines new measures to support transgender people amid discrimination

Celebration of International Trans Day of Visibility at Washington Square Park in New York in 2021.
Celebration of International Trans Day of Visibility at Washington Square Park in New York in 2021. Photograph: Brian Branch Price/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

The Biden administration is commemorating International Transgender Day of Visibility with new policy actions to support trans communities facing a wave of discriminative legislation at the state level.

The newly announced measures will include policies aimed at improving mental health among trans children, helping trans people gain easier access to government services, and providing additional gender identification options at the airport.

“Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them. To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave. You belong. I have your back,” wrote Biden in his proclamation of the day on Wednesday.

Specifically, the Biden administration will announce that starting 11 April, travelers will be able to select “X” when identifying their gender on their passport, providing more options besides “female” and “male”.

Biden is also expected to partner with airlines, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to add the gender marker “X” into their systems, reports CNN.

Several government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), will make it easier for recipients to change their gender information.

Starting later this year, the SSA will no longer require proof of identity or a doctor’s note to update gender information, with other federal agencies allowing people to self-identify their gender identity.

New materials on the challenges trans children may face in school will be released by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Department of Education.

This year’s celebration of trans visibility comes after a recent onslaught of anti-trans legislation passed or proposed in recent months.

The Iowa governor, Kim Reynolds, signed a bill earlier this month that barred trans girls and women from participating in high school and college athletics, despite arguments that the bill was discriminatory and targeted a non-existent problem.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas instructed the state’s child protection services to investigate any parents providing their children with gender-affirming care, calling it “child abuse”.

“Transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity,” wrote Biden. “In the past year, hundreds of anti-transgender bills in states were proposed across America, most of them targeting transgender kids. The onslaught has continued this year. These bills are wrong.”

Additionally, the Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider, the first openly trans winner on the gameshow, will meet with the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, on Thursday. Schneider had the second longest winning streak in Jeopardy! history.

Emhoff, along with the assistant secretary for health Rachel Levine, one of the few openly transgender government officials, will also meet with trans kids and their parents at the White House.

The education secretary, Miguel Cardona, will travel to Florida to discuss the state’s newly passed “don’t say gay” bill with LGBTQ+ students. The legislation bars discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in kindergarten through third grade classrooms.

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