Biden Issues Executive Order to Advance Equity for LGBTQI Individuals
Biden Issues Executive Order to Advance Equity for LGBTQI Individuals

June 2022

On June 15, President Biden issued an executive order on advancing equality for LGBTQI+ individuals. The executive order provides actions for federal agencies to take to address barriers and disparities that LGBTQI+ individuals face, particularly in the face of state laws that threaten their civil rights.

The executive order directives include the following:

  • The Department of Education will need to develop and release sample policies for supporting LGBTQI+ students’ well-being and academic success in schools and educational institutions.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is directed to establish an initiative to partner with state child welfare agencies to help address and eliminate disparities in the child welfare system experienced by LGBTQI+ children, parents, and caregivers.
  • The Department of Education will need to establish a Working Group on LGBTQI+ Students and Families that would develop and provide guidance and technical assistance to promote safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQI+ students and address bullying of those students, identify promising practices for access to school-based health services for them, and strengthen supportive services for LGBTQI+ students and families experiencing homelessness.

The executive order also establishes a subcommittee focused on federal data collection and inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) within the Equitable Data Working Group. Within 120 days, the subcommittee is directed to develop and release a Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity. This agenda would describe disparities faced by LGBTQI+ individuals that could be better understood through federal data; identify current federal data collections where improved SOGI data collection could help in understanding disparities; and identify best practices to safeguard privacy. The executive order directs federal agencies to include recommendations for funding increases to improve SOGI data collection and for the chief statistician to publish a report for federal agencies with recommendations on best practices for SOGI data collection and privacy protection.

“We applaud President Biden for issuing this important executive order to support the civil rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “We are especially pleased that the Biden administration is addressing the need for federal data and statistics to understand the experiences that LGBTQ+ individuals face in education, health, and workforce settings. AERA stands ready to work with federal agencies in implementing this executive order.”

AERA has long supported evidence-based practices that advance the well-being of LGBTQ+ populations. Several examples include producing findings and recommendations in the AERA report LGBTQ Issues in Education: Advancing a Research Agenda, speaking out against state legislation that discriminates against transgender individuals, and responding to federal requests for information and data proposals highlighting the need to expand SOGI data collection.

In addition to this executive order, the House is currently considering legislation to expand current data collections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act would require federal agencies that collect demographic survey data to assess methods for incorporating questions about sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI), and variations in sex characteristics into existing surveys. The House advanced the bill on a 220–201 vote on June 23. AERA joined more than 90 organizations in endorsing the bill and calling for swift action on the legislation in a June 13 letter.