Joe Biden vowed to change discriminatory transgender laws—here’s what’s on the table

October 16, 2020, 3:24 AM UTC

At his televised town hall forum in Philadelphia on Thursday night, Joe Biden vowed to eliminate discriminatory executive orders against transgender people signed by President Trump. “I will flat out just change the law,” Biden said in response to a woman who said one of her daughters was transgender.

The Trump Administration has rolled back a number of regulations designed to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community. If Biden is elected President and follows through with that pledge, these are the actions he would need to reverse.

Ban on transgender people serving in the military

In 2017, Trump announced on Twitter that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” After facing legal challenges, the Supreme Court in 2019 granted the administration’s request to allow it to proceed with the ban.

The current ruling allows transgender people to enlist or serve in the military—but only if they stick to their original sex assignment from birth.

Bathroom rules for transgender students

In 2017, the Education Department, by order of Trump, rescinded Obama-era protections that allow transgender students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity. Education secretary Betsy DeVos was initially uncomfortable with signing off on the order but was ultimately pushed into agreeing by then-attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Reversal of transgender health protections

In June, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that would eliminate protections for transgender people discriminated against in health care settings. “Under the new rule, a transgender person could, for example, be refused care for a checkup at a doctor’s office,” NPR noted.

Rollback of transgender protections in federal prisons

The revised 2018 Transgender Offender Manual now requires the Bureau of Prisons to use an inmate’s biological sex to determine where that person will be housed and which bathrooms they can use.

Reversal of protections for transgender people in homeless shelters

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled back a rule designed to protect transgender people from discrimination by homeless shelters and other housing services using federal funding.

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