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White House says it will ‘fully enforce’ civil rights laws to protect trans Americans from hateful bills

Emma Powys Maurice May 4, 2021
The White House, lit in the rainbow flag.

The White House lit with the Pride flag. (Getty Images/Molly Riley)

The White House is preparing to confront the wave of transphobic legislation proliferating in at least 33 states.

A total of 253 anti-LGBT+ bills have been introduced in the current legislative session, 124 of which are explicitly anti-trans. Sixty-six are focused on sports, 33 on access to healthcare, and 14 on bathroom and locker room access.

The Biden administration has already warned that many states passing these bills are breaking federal law, but has so far yet to enforce this in state legislatures.

That could be about to change, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s leading LGBT+ advocacy organisation.

HRC president Alphonso David told The Daily Beast: “We are having conversations with the Biden administration about additional actions that they should be taking as it relates to anti-LGBTQ bills that we’re seeing in these states.

“But we want to make sure we don’t lose sight of how important those words are, and how important his early actions have been to support and protect LGBTQ people throughout the country.”

When asked if he would like to see the White House directly and publicly challenge the anti-trans bills, David replied: “The short answer is ‘Yes,’ and based on my conversations with the administration I believe they will be doing that.”

David would not reveal the detail of the conversations HRC was having with the Biden administration, “except to say we are exploring variety of ways where the administration could be even more active”.

“Federal agencies interpret federal law,” he continued, “and I believe in many cases, the bills being passed in many states across the country violate federal law, including the constitution.

“So, there are options and actions that have yet to be taken that we are engaging with the Biden administration on as they explore different ways where they can be even more impactful. We can anticipate more actions from the Biden administration as related to these bills.

“I think more needs to be done, and we are engaging with them to do more. I believe that the administration is going be taking additional steps and additional actions that will further clarify their position as it relates to the anti-LGBTQ bills that we’re seeing in the states. I can’t tell you what form that will take.”

Separately, the Department of Justice confirmed to The Daily Beast that it plans to “fully enforce our civil rights statutes to protect transgender individuals”.

This gives campaigners hope that the DOJ is preparing to challenge these bills in court, and determine the legality of laws being proposed – including several that have already passed.

 

 

More: joe biden, transgender athletes

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