President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.
The White House announced a new series of actions to protect young members of the LGBTQ community from political attacks from Republicans across the country, including the appointment of a new coordinator to fight the nationwide wave of book bans. schools and a $1.7 million grant for youth mental health. services.
The joint Biden-Harris announcement comes as Republican-backed anti-LGBTQ legislation has overtaken the country. In just 2023 alone, almost 500such bills have been introduced in various states – such as Louisiana, Florida And Montana. Many bills sought to limit gender-affirming care, the participation of transgender youth in sports, drag shows, and discussions of gender and sexuality in schools.
As part of the announcement, the Biden administration said the Department of Education would appoint a new coordinator who would handle the rise in schools banning books that focus on LGBTQ issues and civil rights.
The administration announced the multi-agency effort ahead of the official White House Pride Month event, which was originally scheduled to take place on Thursday, but was postponed to Saturday due to poor air quality caused by wildfires in Canada.
“We have hysterical and I would say prejudiced people who are engaged in everything you see happening in the country,” President Joe Biden said. said at a press conference on Thursday. “It’s a call to fear, and it’s a call that is totally, completely, unwarranted and ugly.”
THE announcement includes news that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will form the LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership to help community organizations with training in safety, health protection of caregivers and reporting and countering hate crimes.
The administration has also pledged to support the mental health of youth in the LGBTQ community by providing federal funding for mental health services for LGBTQ youth. HHS will also provide the LGBTQI+ Family Support Grant $1.7 million to support the mental health of LGBTQ youth.
On top of that, the administration says it will tackle LGBTQ youth homelessness with the help of a new Department of Housing and Urban Development initiative called the Youth Homelessness Initiative. LGBTQI+.
The statement also says it will require state child welfare agencies to provide LGBTQ youth in foster care with resources that “affirm” them.
“They’re our kids. They’re our neighbors. It’s cruel. It’s tough. Not somebody else’s kids. They’re all our kids,” Biden continued.
The upsurge in anti-LGBTQ bills has been compared to the The Jim Crow era and called a loss of decades of progress in protecting the civil rights of the LGBTQ community. A direct consequence of the upsurge, the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that aims to end anti-LGBTQ legislation, said a “state of emergency” for the LGBTQ community on Tuesday evoking “an unprecedented climate of fear, hostility and discrimination”.
The HRC statement acknowledged that young LGBTQ people have been hit hard by the legislation.
Around a third of LGBTQ youth attribute mental health issues to the rise of transphobic and homophobic legislation, The Guardian reported citing an investigation by the Trevor Project.
At Thursday’s press conference, Biden had a message for LGBTQ youth: “You are loved, you are heard and this administration has your back. I’m serious.”
“We don’t give up a single second to make sure they are protected,” he added.