One of President Joe Biden’s first executive orders intends to promote transgender rights, but may in fact discriminate against women and girls. The order, issued Wednesday night and titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” stands as a first effort to roll back conservative protections of women.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Biden’s day one order is “one of the most substantive pro-equality executive orders in history to protect Americans against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Under the executive order, girls and women will be forced to compete against biological males at the risk of injury and loss of title. It will also enable transgender women to qualify for scholarships intended for biological women.
At present, there is no specific federal law banning discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, and Congress prevented the addition of LGBTQ+ protections into the Equality Act. In 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to outlaw anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace, but limitations on his executive powers meant this only applied to federal contractors.
According to Pink News, Biden’s order will go further than the Obama order, and builds upon the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.
In addition to the executive order, Biden is expected to end the ban on transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. military. Biden has also pledged to pass a new version of the Equality Act to add LGBTQ+ protections to the Civil Rights Act in his first 100 days in office.
“To help achieve our vision of equality, I will make enactment of the Equality Act a top legislative priority during my first 100 days,” said Biden.
Responses to the executive order have been critical.
Political commentator Liz Wheeler wrote, “Don’t tell me Joe Biden or Kamala Harris care about women when Biden forces public schools to allow biological males on women’s sports teams on his first day in office.”
Political analyst Erielle Davidson said, “Biden’s recent executive order destroying women’s sports under the banner of feminism is exactly why I’m not a feminist.”
Rep. Ken Buck condemned Biden’s priorities, stating, “The country is struggling with a pandemic and President Biden is focused on helping biological men compete in women's sports.”