White House Advisor: Discrimination against trans kids is ‘against the law’

In a panel to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility, Reggie Greer also spoke about expanding gender markers on federal documents.

Kate Sosin

Originally published by The 19th

In the clearest sign that the Biden administration will fight against anti-trans athletic bans flooding statehouses, Reggie Greer, senior White House advisor on LGBTQ+ issues to the White House, told a panel on Monday that discrimination against trans kids is “against the law.”

Greer joined a panel hosted by the ACLU in anticipation of Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration recognized on March 31. In a nearly hour-long discussion with actors Angelica Ross and Ian Alexander, and ACLU Trans Justice Project Manager Lala Zannell, Greer said the Biden administration is working on updating its policy to give nonbinary people more options on gender markers than just “M” or “F” on federal documents. He also said that the administration’s policies actively aim to curb discriminatory bills pending in states.

Greer noted that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki often reiterates President Joe Biden’s stance that “Trans rights are human rights.”

“Any attempt to discriminate against trans kids or trans people is actually against the law and against nondiscrimination laws already on the books,” Greer said. Greer added that he sees the While House’s role as shaping the public narrative around trans rights nationally.

“And I think we want to be an active part of that,” he added.

Greer’s comments mark the first time that the White House has directly addressed an onslaught of anti-trans legislation piling up in legislatures. Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas have passed bills that bars transgender girls from competing with other girls on sports teams. South Dakota also passed a sports bill but Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed the bill, citing fears that the NCAA would sue the state and win.

The ACLU has also vowed to sue states on behalf of transgender children barred from sports. In his first day in office, Biden issued an executive order enforcing the Supreme Court’s 2020 landmark employment ruling, which found that civil rights protections against sex discrimination protected LGBTQ+ people, too. Biden’s order specifically stated that transgender youth playing sports were protected from discrimination.

Greer added that the president’s creation of the General Policy Council on his first day in office is intended as a forum to strategize around some of the most pressing issues facing queer Americans.

Among those have been a push to roll out more gender options for nonbinary people on federal documents, including passports and social security cards. In February, the administration confirmed to The 19th that it was assessing adding gender marker “X” designations to federal documents, a campaign promise that Biden made along the trail. Many trans activists have pushed for the removal of gender markers altogether.

“What are the real reasons that gender is still even on IDs?” Ross asked Greer.

“Gender has always sort of been on different identification documents, but we’re all discovering that there are so many agencies, so many issuing agencies on documentation that will have to weigh in here,” Greer said.

Arli Christian, campaign strategist at the ACLU, has previously stated that international law governs passports.

For U.S. documents, however, Greer said the White House had been working with the organization for months and wants to strategize with LGBTQ+ advocates to figure out the best path forward on IDs.

“I am excited that in looking at all of these issues, including gender markers, we’re going to have a whole government approach where we’re going to bring people together and figure out the right way forward here until it’s done right,” he said.

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