The first section of the Executive Order (EO) clarifies the intended scope: all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, “should receive equal treatment under the law,” in all aspects of life. This includes, but is not limited to: workplaces, schools, and other public areas such as restrooms. The Executive Order asserts that gender identity and sexual orientation are protected bases covered under the Constitution, as well as several other landmark laws, including Titles VII and IX, the Fair Housing Act, and the Immigration Nationality Act. The EO affirms that, since sex discrimination encompasses gender identity and sexual orientation, any law protecting the former also applies to the latter classes.
Through this Executive Order, President Biden confirms his commitment to confront and remedy discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, including a focus on instances of intersectional discrimination, such as the high levels of discrimination against transgender Black Americans.
The second section of the EO calls on agency heads to take stock of existing “agency actions” related to sex discrimination, and ensure they are not in conflict with this Executive Order, encouraging new actions as needed to encompass the full extent of the order. This charge is inclusive of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) which have a deadline of 100 days to develop a plan of action for their respective agencies. DCI will report on the proposed actions from each of these agencies as they develop.
By Lily Kerr, M.S., Associate Consultant