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Joe Biden will use executive powers to transform LGBT+ rights when he takes office, starting with Trump’s trans military ban

Nick Duffy November 30, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address

President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address (Mark Makela/Getty)

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to rapidly unpick Donald Trump’s anti-LGBT+ actions when he takes office in January.

The incoming leader is expected to use executive powers to undo some of the damage done by his predecessor, with the ban on transgender military personnel and Trump’s ‘freedom to discriminate’ rules destined for the bonfire.

Joe Biden planning rapid changes

Biden will reaffirm Obama-era rules barring anti-LGBT+ discrimination for federal contractors, Associated Press reports, and create high-level positions on LGBT+ rights at federal agencies including the State Department and the National Security Council.

Obama-era guidance directing schools to allow transgender students to access facilities in accordance with their gender identity will be reinstated, marking an abrupt about-face from the current Department of Education policy. Efforts to add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to national surveys, stalled during the Trump era, are also set to be renewed.

Nicolas Talbott, a transgender man who took legal action over Trump’s military ban, told AP: “I look forward to being allowed to re-enroll in ROTC so I can continue to train, keep up my fitness to serve, and become the best army officer I can possibly be.”

President-elect Joe Biden will seek to reverse Trump's anti-LGBT agenda
President-elect Joe Biden will seek to reverse Trump’s anti-LGBT agenda (Mark Makela/Getty)

However, Biden may struggle to deliver on his promise to use his first 100 days to pass the Equality Act, which would amend civil rights laws and ban anti-LGBT+ discrimination in all 50 states.

Republicans are currently favoured to narrowly retain control of the Senate, pending the results of two key run-off elections in Georgia.

Uphill battle to deliver on promises

Even if Democrats win both Georgia seats, the party would hold a wafer-thin margin requiring them to seek some GOP support on bills, spelling potential trouble ahead for LGBT+ equality proposals.

Only one Republican senator, Susan Collins, has co-sponsored the Equality Act, while Democratic senator Joe Manchin has previously said he opposes the bill.

Other legislation that Biden had promised to support in his action plan, such as a nationwide ban on conversion therapy, is also unlikely to clear the chamber given the lack of firm Democratic majority.

Even if the bills make it to Biden’s desk, a hostile Supreme Court – which now has a 6-3 conservative majority – could also spell trouble for chunks of the leader’s policy agenda.

More: Donald Trump, Equality Act, joe biden, presidential election 2020, trans military ban

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