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President Joe Biden has marked National Coming Out Day by urging Congress to pass the Equality Act, amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being passed in states across the country.
In a statement issued on the White House website, Biden offered his support to the LGBTQ+ community, and especially those ‘considering coming out’, saying, ‘I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.’
While promoting his own administration’s record on LGBTQ+ equality, Biden went on to stress that more work needed to be done to ensure all Americans were free to be themselves, condemning anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and continued bullying and harassment ‘particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color’, while calling on politicians to ‘continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere’.
The statement continued, ‘From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.’
The Equality Act is a Congressional bill that, if passed, would introduce federal protections for LGBTQ+ people in all areas of life, prohibiting discriminations based on sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. The Act was passed for a second time in the House of Representatives by 224 to 206 earlier this year, however it is yet to be introduced in the Senate, with none of the 50 Republican Senators currently willing to support it.
President Biden has previously said he will sign the Equality Act into law as soon as it is passed by Congress.
Fewer than 50% of states currently have anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ and gender rights, BBC News reports.
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