WASHINGTON – Just in time for Pride month, the Biden administration is taking a series of steps to counter an onslaught of attacks against the LGBTQ community in GOP-led states across the country.
President Joe Biden will announce Thursday a new community safety partnership led by the Department of Homeland Security to protect LGBTQ Americans.
The partnership will train LGBTQ community centers and businesses, such as restaurants and gay bars, that have faced threats to respond to “worst-case” scenarios, such as bomb threats, active shooters and cybersecurity attacks. The partnership will also work with healthcare providers and others that serve the LGBTQ community.
The administration also plans to release $1.7 million for new federal programs to support the health and mental health of LGBTQ youth. As part of the effort, the Department of Health and Human Services will issue an advisory to mental health professionals on best practices for supporting the mental health of transgender youth, who in some states have been the focus of bans on gender-affirming care.
“LGBTQ Americans are being targeted for who they are, and that, simply put, is discrimination,” said Neera Tanden, the White House domestic policy adviser.
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In addition, the Education Department will name a coordinator in the Office of Civil Rights to take on book bans that target materials with LGBTQ content. The coordinator will be responsible for training schools on how book bans that target a specific community create a hostile school environment and may violate federal civil rights laws.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development also will launch a new federal initiative to address LGBTQ health and youth homelessness.
Biden, who is regarded as the most LGBTQ-friendly president in history, issued a proclamation two weeks ago designating June as Pride month. On Thursday night, he will host what the administration says is the largest-ever Pride celebration to be held at the White House.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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