President Joe Biden has reversed a Trump-era policy which allowed for healthcare professionals to discriminate against LGBTQ+ citizens, meaning queer Americans will now have legal protections when seeking healthcare. According to The Independent, Trump’s regulations protected people from sex discrimination but defined sex to mean gender assigned at birth. Subsequently, healthcare professionals could legally discriminate against trans and gender-diverse Americans.
However, the Biden administration is now restoring protections for LGBTQ+ citizens after such regulations were first implemented by Obama. Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement: “Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences…Everyone – including LGBTQ+ people – should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”
As a result of the new regulations, the HHS Office for Civil Rights will once again begin investigating complaints of sex discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In addition to the anti-discrimination healthcare policies, Biden signed an executive order earlier this year to protect all LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. The Human Rights Campaign referred to it as “the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.”