President Biden Making Anti-LGBTQ Bigots Cry So Much, Hooray!
President Joe Biden reversed today the previous administration's terrible, bigoted, and gross ban on transgender Americans serving openly in the military. Donald Trump, demonstrating his typical contempt for servicemembers, announced the ban on Twitter in 2019 because he's terrible, bigoted, and gross.
Biden's order "sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve." Radical!
"President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America's strength is found in its diversity," the White House said.
Biden's order "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity," the White House said
This is great news unless you're a homophobic religious bigot or one of those annoying people on the left who'd rain on even Barbra Streisand's parade. You don't have to support the military's worst actions to oppose senseless discrimination in the armed forces.
Biden signed the executive order with Madam Vice President In Charge Kamala Harris on his right and freshly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on his left. The next four years are gonna be lit!
President Biden signs executive order repealing Trump-era ban on transgender people serving openly in the military:… https://t.co/sP64IUu0uO— NBC News (@NBC News)1611596559.0
Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn sneered that Biden's order isn't “unifying," but according to Gallup, 71 percent of Americans support transgender people serving in the military. The past administration's ban was the divisive move, intended to placate the GOP's social conservative base. Those bigoted creeps are in glorious high dudgeon. Good. If you only feel free if your fellow Americans are living in fear and in the shadows, you're a monster.
Our real president didn't wait long to start treating LGBTQ Americans like people who are actual citizens. His first day in office, Biden issued an executive order "preventing and combating discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation." Slate described the order as "the biggest expansion of LGBTQ equality in American history."
Wipe away the tears and feast on these sweet words of inclusion:
Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.
This restores Obama-era protections the Legion of Doom administration had rolled back. The Department of Education under Betsy DeVos didn't give a damn about trans kids, and former HUD Secretary Ben Carson was actively hostile to trans people. (Carson even reportedly referred to trans women, who are women, as “big hairy men" in front of his staff.) Former Attorney General and living Confederate monument Jeff Sessions came out swinging against gays in the name of “religious liberty."
Biden cannily based his executive order on the 2020 Supreme Court ruling that determined discrimination "on the basis of sex" includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four (ahh, RBG, we miss you) liberal justices on this landmark decision.
It's been a great six days. Biden has delivered for LGBTQ Americans more quickly than both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Those were different times, of course, and we can thank the activists for pushing mainstream Democrats in the right direction over the years. However, Biden has proven a reliable, unshakeable ally. He's the first president from the Silent Generation but he's not quiet about LGBTQ rights. It speaks volumes that Biden doesn't consider these issues “distractions" from his larger agenda or a political liability that Republicans will exploit. It's not 2004 anymore.
I know some conservative queer people (yes, they exist) who supported Trump during the 2016 primaries because they genuinely believed he was more supportive of LGBTQ rights than the other Republicans running, specifically Ted Cruz, who wore his social conservative bonafides like gaudy medals.
The New York Times
Haberman's April 22, 2016, article painted a picture of a Trump who congratulated Elton John on his marriage and was the first private club owner in Palm Beach, Florida, to admit an openly gay couple. Haberman, who was able to spot supposed Clinton corruption at 100 paces, seemed oblivious to Trump's true nature: He was completely transactional and would have no problem selling out LGBTQ people to advance his own ends.
There was quantitatively little difference for LGBTQ Americans between a Trump administration and a Ted Cruz or even a Mike Pence one. Don't let the Times fool you about any other seemingly “nice" Republican in the future, either. Only Democrats will defend the rights and dignity of all Americans.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."