The White House hosts “Jeopardy!” star Amy Schneider to mark Transgender Awareness Day

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“The more people like me can be seen, the harder it is to sustain the myths that fuel much of this hate and fear,” said Schneider, the first trans woman to qualify for the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, said from the White House briefing room.

Her visit — which included a discussion on transgender visibility with second gentleman Doug Emhoff — capped a busy day in Washington that saw the administration announce a series of actions to support the mental health of transgender children, removing barriers to entry for government services for trans Americans and improving data representation for transgender people.

“Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them. To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave. You belong. I support you,” the president said in a presidential proclamation late Wednesday.

New support

U.S. citizens will have the option to select “X” when identifying their gender on U.S. passport applications beginning in April and on other documents, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

“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,” Blinken said in a statement. .

“After careful review of the research conducted and feedback from community members, we have concluded that the definition of gender marker X on public Department of State forms will be ‘Unspecified or another gender identity.’ definition is respectful of the privacy of individuals while promoting inclusion.”

The administration also announced that it would partner with airlines, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to add “X” gender markers to their systems.

Additionally, the Social Security Administration will remove the requirement for transgender people to submit proof of identity or medical notes to update their gender information beginning in 2022, and new Commission measures for Equal Employment Opportunity and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will allow trans people to identify their gender identity — removing barriers to self-identification that they may face in the employment and student loan process.

The administration also announced new measures to ensure data equality, including $10 million in funding to research best practices for the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

And the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will release new materials aimed at addressing the challenges that transgender youth may face in schools and in the workplace. mental health care.

“On this day of transgender visibility, we honor transgender people who are fighting for freedom, equality, dignity and respect,” Biden said in his proclamation on Wednesday. “We also celebrate the parents, teachers, coaches, doctors and other allies who affirm their transgender children’s identities and help these young people reach their potential.”

White House Events

Transgender Day of Visibility, or TDOV, was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a Michigan-based transgender activist and executive director of Transgender Michigan. It was launched as an awareness day to celebrate the successes of transgender and gender non-conforming people and is an important day for the LGBTQ community.
While Transgender Day of Remembrance is held annually on November 20 to commemorate transgender people who have lost their lives as a result of anti-transgender violence, TDOV is a day dedicated to honoring and empowering the lives of transgender people and non-binary.
Beyond Schneider’s visit, the White House hosted a series of events, including a conversation with transgender youth and advocates across the country moderated by Second Gentleman and Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine. And Education Secretary Miguel Cardona traveled to Orlando, Fla., to discuss the state’s controversial legislation that opponents have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law with LGBTQ students.

The Department of Health and Human Services also displayed a transgender pride flag to mark the day – the first time in history that a federal agency has done so.

Warning from the Ministry of Justice

The administration’s efforts are part of a broader movement by conservative lawmakers to impose restrictions on the lives of transgender youth in the United States.

This month, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona signed two bills targeting transgender youth in the state, including one that restricts access to gender-affirming health care for minors, while a controversial order in Texas sought to investigate the gender-affirming care of minors as “child abuse”.
On Thursday, the Justice Department sent a letter to state attorneys general reminding them of the federal rights transgender youth have, including seeking gender-affirming care.

“All persons should be free to access services, programs and activities supported by federal financial assistance without fear of unlawful discrimination,” the letter states.

Kristen Clarke, head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement Thursday, “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that all children can live free from discrimination, abuse and harm. harassment”.

The letter, she said, “reaffirms the obligation of state and local authorities to ensure that their laws and policies do not compromise or harm the health and safety of children,” regardless of their identity. of gender.

“Over the past year, hundreds of state anti-transgender bills have been proposed across America, most targeting transgender children. The onslaught has continued this year. law are wrong,” Biden said Wednesday.

“Efforts to criminalize supportive medical care for transgender children, ban transgender children from playing sports, and ban discussing LGBTQI+ people in schools undermine their humanity and corrode our nation’s values.”

This headline and story were updated with additional information on Thursday.

CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

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