As states across the country increasingly look to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation, President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to strengthen protections for people in the LBGTQ community, the White House said.
On a call with reporters Wednesday morning, senior administration officials said Biden signed the order to celebrate Pride Month.
States have introduced 238 anti-LGBTQ bills this year alone, according to NBC News.
"President Biden always stands up to bullies," a senior administration official said during the call. "And that's what these extreme MAGA laws and policies do — they bully kids."
"Hateful, discriminatory laws that target children are out of line with where the American people are," the official continued. "And President Biden is going to use his executive authority to protect kids and families."
The order will protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, which is banned in at least 20 states and Washington, D.C., and will create programs to address the mental health crisis among LGBTQ youth, the White House said.
It will also seek to prevent suicide among this population "by expanding access to suicide prevention resources," and will launch a new initiative "to address the discrimination that children and parents face in the foster care system."
According to senior administration officials nearly 50% of LGBTQ youth reported that they seriously considered committing suicide last year.
On the other end of the spectrum, Biden's order will strengthen protections for LGBTQ older Americans, who face high rates of poverty, discrimination, and isolation. He is directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a new bill of rights for LGBTQ seniors.
Biden's actions are "within the existing budgets of agencies," officials said.
More than two-thirds of LGBTQ youth said their mental health has been adversely affected by debates over state legislation that targets transgender people, according to a January poll by the Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth under 25.
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