Federal agencies take steps to make benefits and services more transgender-inclusive

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On Thursday, in honor of Trans Visibility Day, the Biden administration announced initiatives to make federal benefits and services more inclusive.

“Transgender Visibility Day [is] an annual celebration of the resilience, achievement, and joy of transgender people in the United States and around the world,” a White House backgrounder reads. “The administration once again condemns the proliferation of dangerous anti-transgender legislative attacks that have been introduced and passed in state legislatures across the country.” Among the actions rolled out Thursday were initiatives to remove barriers to accessing federal services and improve the customer experience for transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming Americans.

The Social Security Administration will remove the requirement that individuals provide medical or legal documentation of their gender identity when updating their Social Security records. The agency thinks that will be an option by the fall.

Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will allow individuals to choose an “X” gender marker when completing voluntary self-identification questions that are part of the charge filing process. of discrimination. “We are working to make this change as quickly as possible and will make an announcement when implementation is complete,” said EEOC spokesperson Brett Brenner. Government executive.

The Department of Education will propose next month that the free application for federal student aid for 2023-2024 offer applicants the option of noting their gender identity in addition to their race and ethnicity.

Finally, the White House Office of Management and Administration is beginning the process of adding an “X” gender marker to the White House worker and visitor entry system, so that ” transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people can visit the Maison du Peuple in a way that respects and affirms their gender identity,” the fact sheet reads.

As Human Rights Campaign explains, some non-binary and gender non-conforming people identify with the transgender community, but others do not.

The administration also announced actions to strengthen federal data inclusion and improve the travel experience for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming Americans through state and homeland security departments. , among others.

“Starting April 11, U.S. citizens will be able to select an ‘X’ as a gender marker on their U.S. passport application, and the option will be available for other forms of documentation next year,” the secretary said. of State Antony Blinken, in a statement. “The department is setting a precedent as the first federal government agency to feature the ‘X’ gender marker on an identity document.”

Additionally, on Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services became the first federal agency to fly the transgender pride flag. During Pride Month last June, several agencies were the first to fly the Pride Flag.

The White House also noted in its statement that support for transgender officials is something the administration has been working on since taking office. President Biden issued an executive order in June 2021 aimed at increasing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal workforce and the administration “includes LGBTQI+ leaders who are breaking barriers,” such as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, the first Senate-confirmed openly transgender person who was sworn in as a four-star admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in October. The Biden administration also reversed the Trump administration’s ban on openly transgender people serving in the military.

This article was updated with the comment from the EEOC at 3:05 p.m.

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