Wow. We are officially a little over a week into the Biden-Harris administration and what a week it’s been. The shift from the previous administration’s politics of discrimination, transphobia, and fear to President Biden’s politics of equality, progress, and inclusion is unbelievably powerful. And frankly, it feels both acknowledging and rewarding to a community that has been targeted for the past four years.
Before his inauguration, President Biden was poised to be the most pro-equality president in our nation’s history and, in just one week, he is living up to that promise. He has already catapulted LGBTQ workplace inclusion to new heights in this country – it’s worth repeating – in just one week!
Last Wednesday, on the day of his inauguration, President Biden wasted no time to show his strong commitment to LGBTQ equality by implementing the Bostock decision. This was the landmark Supreme Court victory from this summer, but one which the Trump administration was not eager to enforce. As we speak, LGBTQ workplace protections are being implemented and enforced across all federal agencies, making it the most comprehensive executive action ever taken for the LGBTQ community.
Also on his first day, Biden reversed the ban on DEI trainings for federal employees and contractors. Keep in mind, lifting the muzzle on federal agencies’ diversity, equity, and inclusion work is not the only action he took touching on these issues. He also put forward a commission for racial equity to ensure that this lens is brought to every aspect of the government’s work. On his first day in office.
This Monday, President Biden signed an order to reverse the Transgender Military Ban. This order allows transgender Americans to serve our country freely, safely, and honorably. It is remarkable that we can now say the world’s largest employer, the United States Department of Defense, is trans-inclusive.
And as of last week, when you visit the official White House website, you are asked to choose your pronouns when filling out the contact form. This may seem to some like a relatively minor cosmetic change, but is – in reality – an incredibly profound and significant one. This action signals to the transgender and gender non-conforming community that you are seen and your identity is valued.
Let’s be clear: while we are seeing quick and significant progress from the Biden-Harris administration, our work is far from over.
The U.S. still lacks consistent LGBTQ protections in federal law. Congress must pass the Equality Act. State houses are already jammed up with anti-LGBTQ bills, with a particular focus on transgender youth, some of the most vulnerable members in our community. We must protect them. Black and brown people continue to face discrimination, barriers to success in the workplace, racial profiling from police officers, and more. They deserve better.
What happens in the White House matters. But we also cannot depend on Washington, DC to solve our problems for us. We can have tremendous impact on countless lives by the work that we do collectively to create workplaces of belonging. It is up to each of us to work towards more inclusive policies, to set an example, and to reach and educate new allies. This is the work that leads to the most lasting, sustainable change.
As we kick off 2021, our team is focusing on major tentpoles of LGBTQ inclusion by focusing thematically every quarter. For the first quarter of 2021, Out & Equal is launching a multi-part global initiative to bring about meaningful change for trans and nonbinary employees, clients and customers, and in the process promote broader inclusion and culture shifts. Across the global business community, awareness about trans and nonbinary communities is growing, but for many employers the path to inclusion is less clear, including those most wanting change. Look out for a suite of resources we are launching between now and March!
Developed with our global business partners, these resources cut through the confusion, to offer practical, region-specific guidance for supporting workers and balancing broader business needs.
It’s important to take the time to celebrate, to be proud of our work, to cry tears of happiness, to rest. And then it’s on all of us to take the energy and inspiration we feel, and continue to work for more positive change. More progress. More inclusion.
We’ve already come so far. Together, we continue the work.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates