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On Monday, May 10, the Biden administration reinstated policies that extended the protection of sex discrimination to the transgender community. The Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to broaden the umbrella of legal protection reverses the Trump administration’s redefining of sex discrimination to exclude disparaging experiences on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

After the landmark Obergefell vs Hodges case that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage in 2016, the Obama administration issued historic provisions that codified protections to the LGBTQ+ community by defining “sex” under the Affordable Care Act to encompass gender identity. For the estimated 1.2 million Americans who identify as transgender, the act was a largely progressive stride for a vulnerable community that oft encounter healthcare inequity with providers who don’t understand their health concerns nor offer insurance that covers their partners. Following this, the Trump-era took surreptitious strides to remove these protections. The newest federal reform is a part of Biden’s commitment to unfasten the conservative legislation since taking office in January. “Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, per NPR. “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”

During the 2020 election, Biden’s platform vowed to enact the Equality Act which entailed the restoration of LGBTQ+ civil rights, an end to the transgender military ban and the elimination of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. On his first day in office, Biden signed 17 executive orders including one combating discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation that cited how the intersection of race exacerbates the bigotry that the community faces. Shortly after, Biden issued a reversal of Trump’s Pentagon policy that barred transgender individuals from serving in the military and subsequently receiving gender-affirming medical and psychological care.

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