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The Mental Health Impact of President Biden's Landmark LGBTQ Rights Executive Order

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Key Takeaways

  • On Wednesday night, President Biden signed an executive order outlining that discrimination due to gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited under the law.
  • The executive order implements a June 2020 Supreme Court decision, unenforced by the previous administration.
  • Mental health professionals and advocates believe this landmark move may significantly improve the well-being of LGBTQ people.

Before his first day in office was complete, on Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued an executive order stating, “All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.” 

The order implements the ruling in the consolidated Supreme Court cases Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. In that June 15, 2020 landmark 6-3 decision, that court declared that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination due to factors such as race or religion, extends to sexual orientation and gender identity. Under former President Donald Trump, the federal government had not formally implemented or enforced the decision.

What Else Does the Order Ensure?

In addition to confirming that Title VII covers LGBTQ people, the executive order calls out specific means of discrimination, stating, “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports."

It continues, "Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination.”

Biden Administration Executive Order

Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.

— Biden Administration Executive Order

Explaining the significance of the executive order, Alphonso David, president of the Human Right Campaign, said in a statement, “By fully implementing the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Bostock, the federal government will enforce federal law to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, health care, housing, and education, and other key areas of life. While detailed implementation across the federal government will take time, this Executive Order will begin to immediately change the lives of the millions of LGBTQ people seeking to be treated equally under the law.” 

David calls Biden’s executive order, “the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president.” 

Selima Morrow, LMSW

This executive order shows the Biden Administration is taking the necessary action steps to heal our nation by protecting the most vulnerable Americans.

— Selima Morrow, LMSW

The discriminations mentioned above, among many others, have been detrimental to the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals. “The psychological effects of constantly worrying about safety and security when going about your day can have a negative impact on productivity at work, chronic stress levels that can be detrimental to physical health, relationships, and more,” says Annie M. Henderson, a certified professional life coach and licensed professional counselor working with the LGBTQ community. 

Potential Mental Health Impact For LGBTQ People

Under the new enforcement of the Supreme Court ruling, mental health professionals and advocates believe the well-being of LGBTQ individuals will improve tremendously. “The long-term health benefits for the LGBTQIA community include a steady rise in self-esteem and self-acceptance,” says Henderson. “The simple act of feeling seen and accepted by the president not only has a long-term effect but an instant boost of well-being and safety.”

With a clear showing of the support the administration intends to provide for the LGBTQ community, many individuals are no longer left waiting for additional discrimination to come from the federal level. “This executive order shows the Biden administration is taking the necessary action steps to heal our nation by protecting the most vulnerable Americans," says Selima Morrow, LMSW, director of outreach and community housing at CHRIS 180 and an LGBTQ+ advocate.

"It shows support for the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals by providing access to employment and safe and stable housing opportunities, which leads to positive psychological outcomes and healthy human beings.”

Annie M. Henderson, LPC

The simple act of feeling seen and accepted by the president not only has a long-term effect but an instant boost of well-being and safety.

— Annie M. Henderson, LPC

In addition to the executive order, changes such as the addition of pronoun selection on the White House’s contact form and hiring choices by the new administration will have a positive impact. “Representation, whether it is due to hiring a transgender woman as assistant health secretary, or creating an executive order to end discrimination, will impact young and old and create more allies, as well,” says Henderson. If voted in, Rachel Levine will be the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the senate. 

What This Means For You


While the executive order won’t remove discrimination against LBGTQ people in America overnight, it demonstrates that the federal government and advocates are on the side of equality for all. “This adds many years to lives and exemplifies unity and love from our nation’s leader,” says Morrow. “This is what we have longed for, this is what we needed.”

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