I slept better last night knowing that the U.S. nuclear codes were in the hands of someone not likely to make ego-driven decisions. I woke up refreshed thinking about the first vice president who is a woman, Black, and of South Asian descent. And I was delighted for LGBTQ families, who have a number of reasons to celebrate today.
- President Biden yesterday issued an executive confirming that, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last June in Bostock v. Clayton County, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is forbidden under laws that ban gender-based discrimination. All federal agencies should implement this ruling in all their programs, the order states. Lambda Legal explains that this should apply not only in employment, but also “wherever federal law prohibits sex discrimination, including in education, housing, credit and healthcare.” Alphonso David, president of HRC, called the order “the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.” Among many other things, it will nullify the rule that Trump’s Department of Education issued last week saying that schools could discriminate against transgender students. And of course, protections against discrimination should benefit not only LGBTQ individuals, but also their children of any identities.
- There are at least five queer parents in the Biden administration: Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary; Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director; Gautam Raghavan, deputy director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, Stuart Delery, deputy counsel to the President; Rachel Levine (assuming she is confirmed), assistant secretary of health. The first three are also people of color. Additionally, Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s pick for secretary of transportation, has said that he and spouse Chasten want to have kids, although it is unclear when that might happen. (When it does, I’m guessing that, given Buttigieg’s role, the kid will have plenty of toy cars and an epic train set.)
- At least three queer parents were part of the interfaith Virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service that was just livestreamed from Washington National Cathedral: Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City, who is a lesbian, and two transgender women: Barbara Satin, faith work director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Rev. Dr. Paula Stone Williams, author and pastor of the Left Hand Church.
- Biden will “imminently” revoke Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, which benefits not only transgender individuals, but also their families.
- Many of Biden’s other Day One actions—on immigration, addressing climate change, fighting racism, stopping the pandemic, and more—will of course impact LGBTQ families as they will any others. I won’t cover them in detail here since so many other news outlets are doing so.
- Less related to parenting, but a fun trivia fact: During the inauguration ceremony, Jennifer Lopez sang “America the Beautiful.” Its author, Katharine Lee Bates, was in a 25-year “Boston marriage” with another woman, about whom she once wrote, “You are always in my heart and in my longings.”
- The White House contact form now has options for people to indicate their pronouns and/or the nonbinary prefix “Mx.” So contact them and tell them what you think of how they’re doing for our families (and what they should do)!
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention poet Amanda Gorman and her powerful inauguration ceremony poem, “The Hill We Climb.” If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch. If you have, it’s worth seeing again. The connection to LGBTQ families (aside from its general inspiration for all people)? In March 2018, at the end of her term as National Youth Poet Laureate, Gorman was part of the celebration for the next year’s finalists. Also speaking at that event was Jacqueline Woodson, who had in January 2018 been named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—and is a queer mom. (Yes, “six degrees of queer parents” is a game I play with myself.)
- [Updated 1/22/2021 to add: Senator Bernie Sanders’ wooly mittens, which he wore to the inauguration, have been taking the Internet by storm. The woman who made them, second-grade teacher Jen Ellis, lives outside Burlington, Vermont “with her partner, Liz, and their kindergarten-age daughter,” reported Jewish Insider.]
Happy first full day in four years with a president who supports us!