This week read about President Joe Biden delivering a proclamation recognizing transgender people, and veterans who were discharged for their sexual orientation receiving state benefits in Colorado's new bill.
Biden Recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility
President Joe Biden delivered the first presidential proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, marking the first formal recognition of the holiday by the White House. The proclamation comes 11 years after the first day of visibility was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall Crocker. While noting that the holiday is a time for recognizing the accomplishments of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Biden also acknowledged that there was still more work to be done.
“Transgender Americans of all ages face high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Nearly one in three transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at some point in life,” Biden wrote in his proclamation, “The crisis of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is a stain on our nation’s conscience.”
Additionally, the proclamation stressed the importance of the Equality Act as a way for Congress to secure “legal protections for LGBTQ+ Americans in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems.”
LGBT Veterans Bill Heads to State Senate
Photo via Adobe.
Colorado lawmakers voted to approve new legislation that will grant access to state benefits for LGBT veterans who were discharged other than honorably because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 47-16, and is headed back to the Senate, where it passed unanimously in late February.
Sponsored by Rep. David Ortiz, the Restoration of Honor Act would create a new status for individuals who qualify to receive a “discharged LGBT veteran” status, which would allow them access to the benefits they earned through service, like military burial, the GI Bill, and health care assistance.
A similar version of the bill passed into New York state law last November, with expanded coverage for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ortiz told Colorado House Democrats, “Coming home and reintegrating into your community after military service is hard enough without facing the additional stigma of being unjustly discharged. I’m proud that we were able to deliver some relief for my brothers and sisters in the armed forces today.”