Biden signs executive order to crack down on conversion therapy
President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at stamping out a practice that critics call “conversion therapy” and circumventing state laws he calls hostile to LGBT rights, prompting mixed reactions from religious freedom groups and LGBT activists.
Biden on Wednesday issued an “Executive Order on Promoting Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Persons,” which marked the midpoint of the month that LGBT activists recognize as “Pride Month.” “.
The executive order calls on the administration to “protect LGBTQI+ youth from harmful practices such as so-called ‘conversion therapy’ – efforts to remove or change sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. gender of an individual”.
The order argues that talk therapy is a “discredited practice that research has shown can cause significant harm, including higher rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among LGBTQI+ youth.”
Biden’s executive order directs Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to “implement an initiative to reduce young people’s risk of exposure to so-called conversion therapy.”
The order urges Becerra to “consider whether to issue guidance clarifying to HHS program and service agencies that so-called conversion therapy does not meet federal criteria for use in health programs and federally funded social services.
Biden also ordered the Federal Trade Commission to determine “whether so-called conversion therapy constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and to issue such consumer warnings or advisories as may be appropriate.”
Biden also ordered multiple executive agencies to work together to “develop a plan of action to promote the end of [conversion therapy’s] use worldwide.”
Another provision of the order directs Becerra “to use the authorities of the Department of HHS to protect LGBTQI+ people’s access to medically necessary care from harmful state and local laws and practices” and directs the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to “support LGBTQI+ students, their families, and other school personnel targeted by harmful state and local laws and practices.”
Although Biden did not mention any “law and practice” by name, he could have been referring to medicalized gender transition bans for minors in Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas, as well as laws passed in more than a dozen states requiring athletes to compete on sports teams that match their biological sex as opposed to their stated gender identity.
Rights organizations on both sides of the LGBT debate were quick to react to Biden’s executive order.
Terry Schilling, chairman of the conservative American Principles Project, cited the executive order as evidence that the president “fully supports gender reassignment for children” and “plans to impose his views on the rest of the country, by any means possible.” possible”.
“One of the obvious intentions of this order is to seek ways to punish states that protect children from experimental and dangerous sex reassignment treatments, as well as to preserve girls’ sporting and private spaces,” he said. he said in a statement. “Never mind that all of these efforts have overwhelming voter support; the woke left cannot accept such democratic legislation. Instead, the Biden administration will try to undermine these grassroots laws as much as possible.”
Schilling also said it was “ironic” that the executive order condemned conversion therapy “when in fact that is exactly what it promotes.”
“What the administration really wants to do is lock mentally distressed children into the process of sex reassignment and criminalize any attempt to make them feel comfortable in their own bodies,” Schilling says.
“This isn’t just bad health care; it’s also a morally wrong effort to appease radical ideologues and boost Big Pharma’s profits at the expense of vulnerable children who cannot adequately consent to procedures delivered to them. imposed,” he added. “This shameful action by President Biden will only serve to further hurt children and tear families apart. Congressional and state leaders must continue to vigorously oppose this administration’s dangerous policies in every way possible.”
Julie Marie Blake, senior counsel for the conservative religious freedom legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, expressed concern in a statement Thursday. She argues that the executive order “would compel what Christian counselors can say, or not say, in private conversations with their clients” and would “require denominational foster and adoption homes” who oppose placement. of children with LGBT couples “violate their religious beliefs or lose the funding needed to help children find forever homes.”
Blake said “the president is threatening to erase the entire category of women’s sports — blatantly, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the civil rights law designed to protect fair competition for women.”
The National Black Justice Coalition, which describes itself as a “leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization,” welcomed Biden’s executive order.
In a statement, Victoria Kirby York, deputy director of the NBJC, said the executive action is “a great example of government for all of us” that “includes several policy proposals that the National Black Justice Coalition has supported and recommended – the most recent federal government action on the state’s list of attacks on black, gay and transgender children in education and health care.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org