Biden Admin to Appoint Anti-Book Ban Coordinator as Part of LGBT Push

Biden Admin to Appoint Anti-Book Ban Coordinator as Part of LGBT Push
President Joe Biden addresses the nation on averting default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement in the Oval Office of the White House on June 2, 2023. (Jim Watson/Pool via Getty Images)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer
Samantha Flom
The Biden administration unveiled a series of measures on June 8 to address the rights of the LGBTQ community, including taking action on book bans by appointing a coordinator to work with schools.

The as-yet-unnamed Education Department coordinator will work to inform school districts that prohibiting books could violate federal law, among other issues.

"The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is announcing that to support its ongoing work to defend the rights of LGBTQI+ students and other underserved communities, it will appoint a new coordinator to address the growing threat that book bans pose for the civil rights of students," the White House said in the announcement.

"That coordinator will work to provide new trainings for schools nationwide on how book bans that target specific communities and create a hostile school environment may violate federal civil rights laws."

The announcement is part of the administration's efforts to observe Pride Month and address the concerns surrounding LGBTQ rights. The administration is also unveiling plans to support mental health resources for those in the LGBTQ community and combat violence against the same groups.

The administration has expressed specific concern over book bans, particularly those targeting books that feature LGBTQ communities, communities of color, and other groups.

"Book banning erodes our democracy, removes vital resources for student learning, and can contribute to the stigma and isolation that LGBTQI+ people and other communities face," the White House said.

Biden's Comments on the Initiatives

"As president, I was proud to end the band on transgender troops in our military, sign the Respect for Marriage Act, strengthen the civil rights protections for LGBT Americans, and advance LGBT human rights around the globe, but our fight is far far from over," President Joe Biden said during a June 8 news conference.

He outlined some of the details of his programs that his administration introduced and said they still had plenty of work ahead due to the "hysterical" and "prejudice" people around the country, saying he hoped to find a solution to "violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people."

"It's wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills, targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors," Biden said. "These are our kids. These are our neighbors. LGBTQ Americans, especially children, you're loved, you're heard, and this administration has your back."

Book Ban Controversy

The issue of book bans has concerned parents and school officials in recent months, with some more politically conservative states like Texas and Florida taking center stage in the debate.
In April of this year, Officials in Llano County, Texas, declined to vote on closing libraries after dozens of books containing sexual and racial content that were previously banned were returned to shelves by order of a federal judge.

The county commissioners voted unanimously to remove the issue from their agenda, keeping the libraries open with the books on the shelves.

Just a month earlier, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attacked the "myths" surrounding book bans in his home state, showing a video that included content graphic enough to make some those in attendance at his news conference concerned about repeating what they saw.

"A lot of what's been going on is an attempt to create a political narrative," DeSantis said. "And it's a false political narrative."

This came about a year after Florida passed their Parental Rights in Education law, banning lessons on sexual topics for children in third grade or younger.

Other Pride Month Projects

The Biden-Harris administration's commitment to protecting LGBTQ rights extends beyond addressing book bans. Another key initiative is the establishment of the "LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership," which aims to address the escalating violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQI+ individuals and community spaces.

The Department of Homeland Security, in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will join forces with LGBTQI+ community organizations to offer safety resources, ensuring the preservation of secure and supportive environments. Additionally, efforts will be made to foster trust between LGBTQ organizations and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Biden administration also reiterated its support for LGBTQ youth, saying it is a priority for the administration to recognize the mental health crisis that affects the group.

The Department of Health and Human Services will issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to assist those struggling with a mental health crisis.

This advisory will promote practices for mental health providers working with these vulnerable populations. Additionally, federal funding will be made available to support mental health services for LGBTQ youth, focusing on preventing health and behavioral risks.

Efforts will be undertaken to improve access to supportive services for LGBTQ youth in foster care, to help the kids find safe foster care, and help parents affirm their LGBTQ-identifying children.

The administration also aims to tackle the issue of homelessness through the launch of an LGBTQ youth homelessness initiative in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This initiative seeks to form partnerships with local communities, service providers, and directly affected young people to address the group's homelessness problem.

Technical assistance and training will be provided to shelter and service providers, emphasizing the understanding and resolution of the specific needs of LGBTQ youth.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times' request for comment.