President Biden Signs Executive Order Implementing Supreme Court Ruling Protecting Transgender Americans

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the federal government to fully implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The ruling, issued on June 15, 2020, held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation (see Memo, 06/22). The order reinforces laws that prohibit sex discrimination, including the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

The executive order states the following:

“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. 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 order repudiates the anti-transgender rhetoric that was commonplace in the previous administration and is contrary to former HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s interpretation of the ruling. When Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congresswomen Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) sent a letter to the former secretary, calling on the agency to reconsider its proposed anti-transgender changes to the Equal Access Rule  due to its potential contradictions with the Bostock ruling (see Memo, 06/08/2020), former Secretary Carson claimed in his response letter that it had “no impact.”

Read the executive order on preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation at: