On first day, President Biden signs executive orders to expand human rights; moves will promote racial equity and support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ people

BOSTON, January 20, 2021—On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed a number of executive orders, memos, executive directives, and letters that will organize a federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure that public health decisions are based on science, advance racial equity throughout the federal government, support underserved communities including “Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities, and rural and urban communities facing persistent poverty,” end the Muslim Ban, and prevent discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

“These are incredibly important first steps to undo the discriminatory policies enacted over the past four years that have caused so much harm to Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, LGBTQIA+ people, and immigrants and refugees,” said Sean Cahill, PhD, Director of Health Policy Research at The Fenway Institute. “Fenway Health applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for its forceful and unambiguous embrace of racial equity and the dignity and humanity of all people.”

As shown in a policy brief released late last year by The Fenway Institute of Fenway Health, the Trump Administration enacted more anti-LGBTQIA+ policies than any previous administration in history, reversing decades of progress in LGBTQ health equity in less than four years.

“The overt racism of the Trump Administration has cost lives, with BIPOC people experiencing catastrophic suffering under the inept federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. LGBTQIA+ people have seen their access to health care and other federally-funded services steadily reduced with the revocation of nondiscrimination provisions. And the routine elevation of politics over science has done incalculable damage across all agencies of the federal government,” Cahill added. “We know that it is going to take a lot of effort just to return to where we were four years ago. But we welcome the opportunity to not just restore nondiscrimination regulations and provisions, but to engage deeply with our community partners and the new administration to advance health equity for all.”

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